Twelve aged care facilities in Queensland will take part in a trial of a program designed to avoid having to send residents to hospital.
Nursing staff will be upskilled to identify signs of deterioration early so that residents can be proactively cared for in a familiar environment.
The Early Detection of Deterioration in Elderly residents (EDDIE+) program builds on previous work done by a team from Queensland University of Technology.
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 said.
"Residents and their families much prefer to receive care in their familiar surroundings.
"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."
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Dr Carter said tailored training and equipment such as bladder scans and ECG machines would be provided to staff in 12 not-for-profit residential aged care facilities managed by study partner Bolton Clarke.
"Earlier research has identified eight factors that have the potential to lead to an older person being admitted to hospital which can, with training and resources, be cared for in the care facility," Dr Carter said.
"These are urinary tract infection, dehydration, constipation, chest pain, breathing difficulty, delirium, falls and palliative care.
"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.
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