TRIL (Technology Research for Independent Living) Centre today 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 today 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,” says 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 of 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."
Commenting on the launch, Jim OHara, vice-president of the Technology and Manufacturing Group, and GM of Intel Ireland, said: “The dramatic growth of our elderly population is one of our planet’s most pressing social and economic challenges. To really tackle this, it requires new approaches.
"We need significant investment and revolutionary technology. The TRIL team is currently building the capacity, the networks, the clinical knowledge, and the shared technology platforms that will become a game-changing initiative to help address this challenge.”
The TRIL Clinic is part of the multi-million euro TRIL Centre which is an active research collaboration between industry and academic partners including Intel, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin and the National University of Ireland, Galway.
The Centre created dedicated laboratories at Intel and in each of the universities involved and is driving bi-directional knowledge and technology transfer. The TRIL Centre is one of the largest research projects of its kind in the world. It will develop innovative technologies to help people "age in place" wherever they choose to live.