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The Role of Wearable Sensors to Monitor Physical Activity and Sleep Patterns in Older Adult Inpatients: A Structured Review

Lookup NU author(s): Gemma Bate, Dr Cameron KirkORCiD, Dr Rana RehmanORCiD, Dr Yu GuanORCiD, Professor Alison Yarnall, Dr Silvia Del DinORCiD, Dr Rachael LawsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Low levels of physical activity (PA) and sleep disruption are commonly seen in older adult inpatients and are associated with poor health outcomes. Wearable sensors allow for objective continuous monitoring; however, there is no consensus as to how wearable sensors should be implemented. This review aimed to provide an overview of the use of wearable sensors in older adult inpatient populations, including models used, body placement and outcome measures. Five databases were searched; 89 articles met inclusion criteria. We found that studies used heterogenous methods, including a variety of sensor models, placement and outcome measures. Most studies reported the use of only one sensor, with either the wrist or thigh being the preferred location in PA studies and the wrist for sleep outcomes. The reported PA measures can be mostly characterised as the frequency and duration of PA (Volume) with fewer measures relating to intensity (rate of magnitude) and pattern of activity (distribution per day/week). Sleep and circadian rhythm measures were reported less frequently with a limited number of studies providing both physical activity and sleep/circadian rhythm outcomes concurrently. This review provides recommendations for future research in older adult inpatient populations. With protocols of best practice, wearable sensors could facilitate the monitoring of inpatient recovery and provide measures to inform participant stratification and establish common objective endpoints across clinical trials.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bate GL, Kirk C, Rehman RZ, Guan Y, Yarnall AJ, Del Din S, Lawson RA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sensors

Year: 2023

Volume: 23

Issue: 10

Online publication date: 18/05/2023

Acceptance date: 07/05/2023

Date deposited: 10/05/2023

ISSN (electronic): 1424-8220

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/s23104881


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations
European Union Horizon 2020
Janet Owens Parkinson’s UK
Wellcome Trust