Chronic pain affects more than 1.5 billion individuals globally and is the single most prevalent symptom among elderly geriatric patients. The evidence-based VITAE treatment is provided by an amplifier, a vibro-tactile transducer, applied to the patient in a corset-like unit, a pair of headphones and the patient can via a smartphone control the app. 25- minute treatment session. The treatment is completely non-invasive and nonpharmacological, and more than 5-year experiments have shown encouraging results with reduction in prescribed drugs and no side-effects. In ActiVITAE, we aim at bringing cocreation 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 VITAE treatment 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.
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’ well-being, 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.
This AAL project, ActiVITAE, aims to help people ageing well by alleviating geriatric chronic pain using a completely novel and patented, evidence-based ICT-based pain management system. The evidence-based 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 take 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.
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 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.
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.
Expected results and impact
- The objectives ActiVITAE 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.
- We expect ActiVITAE will demonstrate and clinical validate a totally new approach to help people ageing well by alleviating geriatric chronic pain and/or depression.
- A significant part of the ActiVITAE project will be dedicated to direct integration with end-users and end-user’s organization for qualitative interview, think aloud testing and treatment tests.
- The outcome will be for a thorough documentation of wishes and needs of users at all levels, which will support identification of shortcomings and areas to improve the ActiVITAE– together with user’s feedback on the willingness to use and adopt the VITAE regularly. To achieve the overall objectives and outcome, the ActiVITAE project comprises the following qualitative and qualitative objectives:
- To understand the needs, wishes and routines of the end-users and stakeholders
- To test and evaluate usability/acceptance of the platform in real environment with of end-users
- To validate the value proposition (treatment efficacy) of VITAE with end users
- To assess the business potential and strategy for VITAE
- It is expected ActiVITAE will show a significant, positive effect on the geriatric chronic pain patients participating, at least 50% reduction of pain, meaning that the level of pain they experience daily will drop to a much more manageable level, compared to conventional, pharmacological treatment, which by no means is obstructed by VITAE.
- It is expected that VITAE treatment will show no side-effects, meaning that not only can VITAE reduce pain, it can also reduce those side-effects, which are a
problem for most chronic pain patients.
- It is expected that VITAE treatment will demonstrate a freer and more active lifestyle from the patients with at least a 30% improvement in quality of life. Though this increased activity will likely be quite individual, we do expect to see more active geriatric patients doing more exercise, as chronic pain leads to
limitations in daily activities, which will further reduce their symptoms and help them cope with their conditions.
- Consequently, with improved mobility, activity and less pain, we hope to see hospitalised geriatric patients becoming more self-sufficient, getting transferred to ambulatory care or even being discharged from the hospital altogether, although the latter likely requires a home treatment VITAE system in the market.
- It is also expected that clinics and hospitals need to allocate less personnel to care for the increasingly self-sufficient patients. With healthcare costs on the rise in advanced economies, particularly due to an increasing number of geriatric patients, reducing these patient’s financial footprint on the health sector is a vital part of ensuring fiscal sustainability of the health systems.
- Given a successful ActiVITAE project, we estimate a treatment solution can be ready for a first market introductory in 2021 – and we do foresee an increasing
need and demand for more convenient, effective and cost-competitive services like the VITAE treatment service.
Partners involved in the ActiVITAE project
- Project name: ActiVITAE (Vibro-tactile VNS to alleviate geriatric chronic pain)
- Website: www.pacinimedico.com
- Coordinator: mediathand ApS
- Duration: 10 months
- Starting Date: 03/2019
- Total budget: € 360.000
- Public contribution: € 270.000
Gert Skov Petersen
T.: +45 6170 9696