Exploring the Feasibility of Monitoring of Gait and Falls in the Homes of Persons with Multiple Sclerosis
Objectives: To determine the feasibility and validity of gait monitoring and falls in the homes of pwMS.
Methods: A pilot study was conducted to determine the feasibility of monitoring gait using in-home gait parameters measured by mounted depth sensors and how well these measures correlated with in-laboratory measures of gait. The sensors were placed in the home and collected gait parameters on a daily basis for 6 months. Sensor gait parameters (average number of walks, stride time, stride length, velocity and a predicted timed up and go (TUG)) were calculated by averaging daily walks in their home for 7 consecutive days. In-laboratory measures collected at baseline were the TUG, Timed 25-foot Walk Test, and a 16-foot GAIT Rite electronic pathway. The GAIT Rite was used to calculate spatiotemporal parameters of gait.
Results: A total of 7 participants, with all types of MS, participated in the study. Participants varied in age from 41-67 years (M=50.7, SD=9.2) included 4 females and 3 males with the average (SD) time from disease onset of 12.24 years (SD=8.2) years. Median (IQR) SR-EDSS score was 5 (M=4.5, SD=6) indicating a high level of disability. Barriers to in-home sensor data collection included installation problems, internet connectivity issues, and recruitment due to privacy concerns. Four participants had data collected for 50% or more of the days in the first 3 months. Sensor predicted-TUG was within 2.5 seconds of the clinic TUG for most subjects. The relationships between the sensor and clinic data will be examined at baseline and at month 3 to examine the validity of the sensor system in pwMS.
Conclusions: The use of a monitoring system in the homes of pwMS may allow for targeted symptom management, fall prevention strategies, and early treatment for progression.