Ecological Assessment of Autonomy in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living in Dementia Patients by the Means of an Automatic Video Monitoring System

Front Aging Neurosci. 2015 Jun 2;7:98. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2015.00098. eCollection 2015.


Currently, the assessment of autonomy and functional ability involves clinical rating scales. However, scales are often limited in their ability to provide objective and sensitive information. By contrast, information and communication technologies may overcome these limitations by capturing more fully functional as well as cognitive disturbances associated with Alzheimer disease (AD). We investigated the quantitative assessment of autonomy in dementia patients based not only on gait analysis but also on the participant performance on instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) automatically recognized by a video event monitoring system (EMS). Three groups of participants (healthy controls, mild cognitive impairment, and AD patients) had to carry out a standardized scenario consisting of physical tasks (single and dual task) and several IADL such as preparing a pillbox or making a phone call while being recorded. After, video sensor data were processed by an EMS that automatically extracts kinematic parameters of the participants' gait and recognizes their carried out activities. These parameters were then used for the assessment of the participants' performance levels, here referred as autonomy. Autonomy assessment was approached as classification task using artificial intelligence methods that takes as input the parameters extracted by the EMS, here referred as behavioral profile. Activities were accurately recognized by the EMS with high precision. The most accurately recognized activities were "prepare medication" with 93% and "using phone" with 89% precision. The diagnostic group classifier obtained a precision of 73.46% when combining the analyses of physical tasks with IADL. In a further analysis, the created autonomy group classifier which obtained a precision of 83.67% when combining physical tasks and IADL. Results suggest that it is possible to quantitatively assess IADL functioning supported by an EMS and that even based on the extracted data the groups could be classified with high accuracy. This means that the use of such technologies may provide clinicians with diagnostic relevant information to improve autonomy assessment in real time decreasing observer biases.

Keywords: Alzheimer; assessment; autonomy; dementia; information and communication technologies; instrumental activities of daily living; mild cognitive impairment; video analyses.