Health & Wellbeing

Plate-checking tech ensures care home residents don't get malnourished

Plate-checking tech ensures ca...
According to the University of Waterloo, "it is estimated that more than half of residents of long-term care homes are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition"
According to the University of Waterloo, "it is estimated that more than half of residents of long-term care homes are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition"
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According to the University of Waterloo, "it is estimated that more than half of residents of long-term care homes are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition"
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According to the University of Waterloo, "it is estimated that more than half of residents of long-term care homes are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition"

Malnutrition is a common problem at long-term care homes, as many residents simply don't eat all the food which is served to them. An experimental new AI-based system is designed to help, by analyzing images of their plates.

The technology is currently being developed via a partnership between Canada's University of Waterloo, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging, and University Health Network.

Putting it simply, the system compares photos of platefuls of food. One photo is taken before the meal is served, while the other is taken once the resident has finished eating – ideally, those images could be obtained by staff via a tablet.

Because the software utilized by the system is linked to the care home's recipes and meal plans, it already knows the type and the nutritional value of the foods included in each particular meal. By analyzing factors such as the color and depth of the food that's left on the plate, it is therefore able to determine how much of each food type was consumed, and thus how much nutrition the resident received.

If it's found that the resident has an insufficient or nutritionally unbalanced diet, caregivers will be notified.

And while staff at care homes do already estimate food consumption by manually checking how much food is left on plates, the scientists state that such methodology has been shown to have an error rate of at least 50 percent. By contrast, the AI-based system is claimed to be accurate to within 5 percent.

A paper on the study, which is being led by Waterloo researchers Kaylen Pfisterer and Robert Amelard, was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: University of Waterloo

2 comments
2 comments
paul314
Or they could train and pay staff enough to retain people who could do the same thing (and probably even ask residents why they didn't eat this or that item).
vince
But would they use it? They never have enough staff even to deliver the food to each person much less analyze photos to see if their patrons are eating enough. And yes it's basically senior abuse which the almost always lose weight when going into ANY senior care center. I myself had to go to two of them and lost 20 lbs in each. Also lost a kidney because they were not making sure I consumed enough water to stay hydrated so my kidney's died. The left one had to be removed. The right one was down to 25% working status. They almost killed me.