Predicting resident deterioration and acute care needs in aged care

Flagship Program: Digitally Supported and Coordinated Aged Care Management

Project Description

This innovative project aims to keep more aged care residents out of emergency care, by developing new clinical software algorithms to identify their deteriorating health early and reduce avoidable emergency hospitalisations. 

The project also aims to help aged care providers with the early identification of residents who are approaching end of life, so Advance Care Plans can be enacted. 

Emergency hospitalisations are not only stressful for aged care residents and their families, but they also place significant additional demand on hospitals – so to be able to treat residents earlier, and avert the need for hospitalisation, is extremely important. 

Similarly, the earlier it can be ascertained that an aged care resident is approaching end of life, the earlier their Advance Care Plan can be enacted – ultimately helping the aged care resident, their carers and families, and the aged care provider. 

While clinical decision support (CDS) software to identify patient deterioration exists in acute care settings, there is no such software in aged care settings. Clinical information is often gathered manually and in formats that can be difficult to interrogate. 

This project’s researchers will review – and seek to adapt – existing algorithms and decision support methods from the acute care sector. They will also consult with clinical providers regarding the signs and flags of patient deterioration (and how this might be identified from recorded data) and review and address ethical issues. 

Telstra Health will provide access to its Residential Aged Care Software and de-identified data from aged care providers, and will work with the researchers to develop and test new algorithms. The new algorithms will first be tested using historical data and then applied to current data in a trial setting. Ultimately, they will be integrated into Telstra Health’s Clinical and Care Management software. 

Telstra Health has offered providers using its Residential Aged Care Software to participate in the research – this has been met with a positive response from several providers.

As part of Digital Health CRC’s Industry-PhD program, a PhD student will be embedded within the research team.

See a joint media release relating to this project here:

Project Objectives

The goal for this project is to better equip aged care workers to identify deteriorating residents, so that appropriate care and resources can be provided. This project will produce an algorithm for use in Telstra Health’s aged care software that will: 

  • Identify deteriorating residents so that clinical and other resources can be adjusted accordingly, and to reduce avoidable emergency hospitalisations 
  • Identify deteriorating residents approaching end of life, so that goals of care can be reviewed as specified in the Advance Care Directive (if completed), in collaboration with the resident and carers 
  • leverage/adapt existing algorithms and decision support methods from the acute sector 

Industry Participant

Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra Health)
Larissa Briedis, A/g Head of Strategy and Policy

Other Project Participants

Research Participant

RMIT University
Lawrence Cavedon, Professor and Associate Dean, Computer Science and IT

Project Value: