Plan to prevent unnecessary stays

A new program could prevent stressful and often unnecessary hospital admissions for older Australians living in residential aged care facilities.

The Early Detection of Deterioration in Elderly residents (EDDIE+) program will be trialled in 12 aged care facilities to help nurses better identify early signs of deteriorating health, so that residents can be retroactively cared for and avoid hospital stays.

Health economist Dr Hannah Carter, from QUT’s Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation in the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), said caring for older residents in their care facility had benefits for both patients and healthcare providers.

“We know being admitted to hospital is stressful for older people and family members, and increases the risk of adverse complications,” Dr Carter told QUT News.

“Residents and their families much prefer to receive care in their familiar surroundings,’’ she said. “A hospital bed costs around $1500 per day and many hospital admissions of aged care residents are deemed unnecessary and preventable.

“The EDDIE+ program is designed to enhance the skills and confidence of nursing and care staff and give them additional resources to identify and prevent deterioration.”

Dr Carter believes that being able to pre-emptively identify the factors that would otherwise potentially lead to hospital stays would make it easier for patients to stay and be cared for in place, as well as reduce the burden on the public health system and health spending.

“Currently, there are about 30 hospital admissions per 100 aged care facility beds transferred to hospital each year. The aim for the EDDIE+ program is to significantly reduce this figure, saving aged care residents distress and disruption and lessening the burden on the hospital system.

“When we modelled the program in a cohort of 1000 residents, it resulted in a total of 1606 fewer hospital bed days a year which was a cost saving of $2.6 million to the Australian healthcare system.”

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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