Fall detectors: a review of the literature

Gillian Ward (Occupational Therapist and a Principal Lecturer in Assistive Technology at the Department of Social, Therapeutic and Community Studies, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Nikki Holliday (Senior Research Assistant, Health Design and Technology Institute, Coventry University Technology Park, Coventry, UK)
Simon Fielden (Director, Health Design and Technology Institute, Coventry University Technology Park, Coventry, UK)
Sue Williams (Social Worker, ADASS West Midlands, Droitwich, UK)

Journal of Assistive Technologies

ISSN: 1754-9450

Publication date: 7 September 2012



The aim of this review is to explore recent literature regarding the development of fall detector technology as part of a service evaluation on the use of fall detectors across the region funded by NHS West Midlands. It also aims to explore the application and the use of products designed to detect falls and alert for help from end‐user and health and social care staff perspectives.


A comprehensive review of the literature of the last ten years was conducted, search terms were used to identify relevant literature from research databases and the main themes from the literature were summarised. This work was carried out to inform a service evaluation of the use of fall detectors across the West Midlands region and was funded by NHS West Midlands.


It was found that whilst there are a wide variety of new technologies regarding fall detectors in development, the range of technologies currently available through health and social services to users are limited. Health and social care staff appear to be less convinced of the benefits of fall detectors than end‐users. There was also a lack of robust evidence regarding different approaches to technology in the management and detection of falls. Users had mixed views regarding the use of fall detectors, with some people having concerns about privacy, lack of human contact, user‐friendliness and appropriate training, whilst others clearly identified the benefits of detecting falls and raising an alert. The implications of these findings for practice are discussed.


This paper will be of value to those working in falls services, telecare or industry partners developing fall detector technology.



Ward, G., Holliday, N., Fielden, S. and Williams, S. (2012), "Fall detectors: a review of the literature", Journal of Assistive Technologies, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 202-215. https://doi.org/10.1108/17549451211261326

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