Space-time indices for clinical support


Using location data to improve care for residents in long-term care. Scroll to learn more about our project.


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STICS is a project in which Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) data is harnessed to create clinically validated Space-Time Indices for Clinical Support (STICS) for a variety of common patterns of behaviour exhibited by people who live in long-term care (LTC). Space-Time refers to the kind of data we are working with (the location of residents in space and over time). Algorithms will transform this RTLS data into Indices to help health care professionals make decisions about resident care.

STICS can be used to track behavioural patterns over time and evaluate the effectiveness of interventions. They can also be used to design and evaluate the physical and social environment to promote a more holistic approach to well-being in LTC residents.


Our challenge


Long-term care (LTC) is an under-resourced sector that faces many challenges in delivering care to a complex and vulnerable population, in part because of an over-burdened care staff workforce with high levels of turn-over. Technology is emerging as one solution to alleviate these resource gaps and augment care delivery. This requires the collection of data using different types of sensors or devices, and the processing of this data into information that can be used to guide clinical care.

While technology platforms used for health care delivery in LTC are becoming increasingly sophisticated, much of the data collected is not used to directly inform clinical care. An important challenge is transforming this data into a form that is clinically meaningful and
directly clinically actionable.

Real-Time Location SYSTEMS

RTLS are sensor-based systems commercially available to LTC. These systems typically use radio-frequency tags worn on the wrist of the resident to track their location on a floorplan of the facility.

RTLS is already incorporated into nurse call systems in new LTC facilities, and we believe it is only a matter of time until the use of RTLS is widespread in the care of people with dementia. Using inexpensive and simple RTLS systems, this project will develop validated RTLS-based measures and integrate them into clinical support tools, leaving us well-positioned for the future expansion of RTLS across the LTC sector.




With our mission to accelerate the use of RTLS technology in improving health and well-being for older adults living in LTC, an essential part of this project is the engagement of a broad group of stakeholders in the development of the STICS. In line with the principles of responsible research and innovation and value-sensitive design, this project also integrates an ethical and policy analysis of the use of RTLS technology in LTC to allow us to pro-actively address ethical concerns at all phases of technology development and implementation.


An important step in the first year of this project is to complete a pilot study on the Specialized Dementia Unit at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI).

The aim of the pilot study is to study the implementation of an RTLS system and to gather preliminary data for STICS development and validation.

step into the future of long-term care.