MRFF Grant to Improve and Streamline Healthcare for Residents of Elderly Care Facilities
Lack of coordination of care for residents of elderly care facilities and other sectors of the health system has been an ongoing problem for the elderly care sector and has been highlighted during the COVID pandemic last year when 685 Australians in nursing homes died.
Monash University, through the National Center for Healthy Aging, has received significant funding to create a digital health system that provides a centralized summary of resident data, enabling clinicians, personnel in nursing homes seniors and family members to access their health data in real time.
COVID-19 has resulted in a rapid movement of residents between sectors (residential care facilities for the elderly (RACF), primary care, hospital, ambulance) often en masse, with little or no accompanying information.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt today (June 27) ad a Medical Research Future Fund grant of more than $ 1.9 million for a Monash University project to provide a digital health solution that provides point-of-care clinicians and RAC staff, residents and their families, information considered essential when transferring people living in RAC.
According to Associate Professor Nadine Andrew, Monash University’s Peninsula Clinical School, Central Clinical School and National Center for Healthy Aging, there is a lack of coordination of data belonging to these residents. âDespite there being more electronic health data than ever before, the information remains siled, poorly integrated and underused,â Associate Professor Andrew said.
âIt is important to note that this project aims to transform data from primary care for residents into care for the elderly in a way that can be commonly understood by a range of end users. “
According to Associate Professor Andrew, effective medication management, access to advance care directives, and a better understanding of a person’s ‘usual’ physical and cognitive functions have been shown to support decision making that, in turn, reduces hospitalizations and other adverse events. “However, disparate, low-quality and often limited access to patient data across sectors, and a lack of infrastructure to support effective and efficient data sharing means that access to this information is often limited or non-existent. “she said.
Once developed, the system will be tested in 3-4 RACs in the Frankston / Mornington Peninsula area.
The success of the program, according to Associate Professor Andrew, will be determined by measures such as:
- Reduce avoidable hospitalizations by providing clear information to assist paramedics in making decisions about whether or not to transfer a person to hospital.
- Reduce medication errors in RACFs thanks to better data sharing between prescribers (hospitals and general practitioners)
- Ensure that residents’ wishes, as expressed in their advance care directive, are accessible to relevant health care providers