TRIL (Technology Research for Independent Living) Centre has recently announced the official launch of the TRIL Clinic at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.
The TRIL Clinic is the latest evolution of the TRIL Centre, supported by Intel and the IDA (Industrial Development Agency) Ireland, which aims to discover and deliver technology solutions that support independent ageing.
The Clinic, which was officially opened by Maire Hoctor TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with responsibility for Older People, combines clinical knowledge with the latest technology to conduct breakthrough research into the physical, psychological and social consequences of ageing.
“Falls and dementia are the two key factors that prevent people from ageing successfully,” said Professor Rose Anne Kenny, Principal Investigator TRIL Centre, St James’s Hospital and Consultant in Geriatric Medicine, Trinity College.
“If we are going to support successful and independent ageing we need to bring researchers from medical and technological disciplines together – that is what we are doing with TRIL. At the TRIL Clinic, we will be assessing older people and we hope to learn how to apply new technologies to detect injury and illness sooner and improve quality of life.”
TRIL researchers plan to assess up to 600 older people at the TRIL Clinic. The data they gather will help them to understand the impact of falls and find ways of predicting and reducing them. Falls are the most common reason that older people go to hospital Emergency Departments and are the reason why many end up living in long-term care institutions.
Researchers also plan to identify and measure behaviour patterns that lead to cognitive decline and dementia, which are the biggest barriers to independence. A better understanding of these patterns should help researchers to tailor technologies that allow people to lead healthier, more independent lives in their own homes.
Speaking at the TRIL Clinic launch, Minister Hoctor said: “Our healthcare system must move forward if it is to deal successfully with the needs of our growing elderly population. We need to look at new ways to help people cope with age-related illness, injury and isolation, because these problems will only get bigger.”
Ian Carter, Chief Executive, St James’s Hospital, said: “St James’s Hospital is committed to world-class research activities across all disciplines and the TRIL Clinic is an example of how collaborative research programmes can support the hospital’s work, prevent admission to hospital and support older people living well at home.”
The TRIL Clinic will also explore how technology can enable social interaction among older people who often end up lonely, depressed and isolated. The aim is to show that connecting people with the community and their friends and families using the latest research technologies will improve their quality of life.
Of key importance to the TRIL team is the work of their ethnographers, who interact with older people in their own environments to provide “real world” input into the design and implementation of new technologies.