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Chronic pain affects more than 1.5 billion individuals globally – and is the single most prevalent symptom among geriatric patients. Chronic pain has tremendous impact on individuals’ wellbeing, lifestyle, independence, activity and comfort, and the condition is associated with the spiral degeneration of general quality of life of older adults OR: with increased disability, deconditioning and hence, increased change on frailty. ActiVITAE aims to help people ageing well by alleviating geriatric chronic pain using our completely novel and patented,ICT-based pain management system. The solution, Vibration Induced Treatment by Abdominal Excitation (VITAE), is disruptive and provides a pleasant, non-invasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS), utilising abdominal vibro-tactile stimulation of the Pacinian corpuscles. VITAE takes advantage of the well-documented principle based on induction of nerve signals which travel through the sensory nerve system via the Vagal Nerve to the brain – and when combined with a relaxing audio track, the pain and anxiety centres in the brain are inhibited, reducing symptoms of not only chronic pain but also depression, which (unsurprisingly) often accompanies chronic pain. The VITAE treatment is provided by an amplifier, a vibro-tactile transducer, which is applied to the patient in a corset-like unit, and a pair of headphones. The transducer is operated through a smartphone, which controls the vibration stimuli and the relaxing audio track. A treatment session takes around 25 minutes, and data are stored on a server, providing the medical staff with a log of the sessions. As the treatment consists of external stimulation of the abdomen, it is completely noninvasive and non-pharmacological. Moreover, early experiments have shown encouraging results with no side-effects. By thus reducing the amount of medicine used while still treating the conditions, it is the objective of the project to significantly reduce pain symptoms, reduce side-effects, reduce costs, improve the quality of life and self-sufficiency of the

geriatric patients.

 

The VITAE is designed to all people suffering from chronic benign pain and/or depression - certainly also geriatric chronic pain patients - currently in clinic care but eventually also at home. In ActiVITAE, we aim at bringing co-creation to the development cycle of the VITAE through the engagement of end-users (from different levels) to collect insights and knowledge about requirements of the older adults in terms of the usability of the VITAE. The objectives of this project are to document the effects of VITAE on geriatric patients, to identify obstacles in the implementation of VITAE within clinics and finally to establish a foundation for further collaboration beyond this project.

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