Behaviour detection in a bathroom environment to assist people with dementia

Problem Statement Nursing staff members spend a lot of time on routine tasks, such as assisting in basic activities of daily living (toileting, bathing, transferring, grooming, etc.), ensuring the safety of patients, or walking tours and providing nursing care to their patients. The visit of a toilet is part of the daily routine, and takes a high amount of the nursing time. The goal is to increase people’s autonomy and digitizing nursing assistance in this area. It is important that everyone can use a toilet as comfortably and barrier-free as possible. For people with cognitive impairment, this currently means that a caregiver has to escort them during toilet visits or at least wait in front of it. This control measure may restrict people’s autonomy, is unpleasant for both sides and in institutions it also binds care personnel.  

 

Goal

In this thesis, a system should be developed that recognizes certain actions to identify when assistance on the toilet is needed. 3D sensors will be used for private sphere protecting action recognition using behaviour recognition algorithms already available but trained for other application areas. If irregularities (e.g. forgetting to wash hands) or incidents (e.g. falling) are detected using this method, assistance is offered. This assistance can either be provided (1) by alerting nursing staff, which intervenes accordingly, or (2) through interaction (e.g. audio instructions, interactive display). Additional functionality to integrate would be to calculate the frequency of the toilet visits, which can be used to determine whether enough water is consumed by a patient. This is an important indicator for nursing staff to avoid the threat of dehydration, especially for people who have difficulty expressing themselves.   Thus, the main tasks of the thesis are:

  • Developing an action recognition system to detect specific behaviours on the toilet
  • Develop an interaction tool (alarm notification and dialogue communication between user and system in order to guide them through the toileting process)

This thesis is part of the DIANA project.

  If you are interested, write to martin.kampel@tuwien.ac.at