Combining data to improve health care for older Australians
Professor Maria Inacio is Director of the Register of Senior Australians (ROSA) at the South Australian Institute of Health and Medical Services. Maria helped found ROSA in 2017. The registry combines health care and aged care data from across Australia. Combined, this data provides the first complete picture of Australian aging pathways.
“I’m a techie, and I love the challenge of learning new things with data,” says Maria. “I am passionate about how this information can be used to improve care for the elderly.”
Evidence on the quality and safety of aging care
Previously, Maria used ROSA data to present evidence to the Royal Commission on the quality and safety of aged care. “Our data inspired the recommendations of the Royal Commission, which helped drive reforms in aged care,” Maria recalls.
“For example, our data showed that older people received more psychotropic medications when they entered a nursing home. endorses recommendations for
“Since the Royal Commission, quality and safety monitoring has improved, and data strategies for assessing the quality of care for the elderly have improved,” says Maria.
Finding the best healthcare for seniors in Australia
Maria is currently leading the first nationwide assessment of older people’s use of primary health care and the effectiveness of this care in the aged care setting.
Older people are more likely to have frailty, falls, chronic illnesses, and comorbidities. This means they are at higher risk of emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
These events often have adverse health consequences, including decreased function and quality of life. “If primary health care is improved, the health and well-being of the elderly may improve,” Maria says.
“We want to know to what extent older people receive primary health care. We also want to know how care changes as people move into nursing homes. increase.
Which healthcare service is best for you?
“93% of people in aged care homes visit their GP about 25 times a year,” reports Maria. “However, we do not know the outcome of these visits or whether they will meet the needs of older people.”
To answer that question, Maria examines the relationship between primary health services and:
- subsequent health encounters
- Length of stay at home or residential facility.
“I want to be able to help seniors find the best service or combination of services they can use to do their best. I will explain.
Positive effects of preventive medicine
In early results, Maria discovered that there are three healthcare pathways for older people in nursing homes. Mortality results vary.
- Older adults receiving preventive or multidisciplinary health care have the lowest mortality rates. Also this:
- health assessment
- Chronic disease management plan or multidisciplinary care plan
- drug reviews
- Affiliated medical service
- Mortality is moderate for people who see a GP several times a year and receive minimal other services. Maria says this is probably because she has fewer health problems.
- Those who see their GP frequently, including after-hours emergency visits, have the highest mortality rates. Maria says this may be because her health is deteriorating, but it could also be because her health care is poorly managed.
“It’s encouraging to know that preventive care can have a positive impact. We need to provide the best quality of life and the best possible experience for our elderly caregivers,” Maria concludes.
How much preventive care do older people receive?
But Maria’s research found that older people don’t get the preventive care they need.
“They should have annual chronic disease management plans and health assessments and medication reviews. They should receive more mental health and related medical services. may be sufficient to keep older adults healthy and prevent cognitive decline.
“But only about half of people who are covered by a chronic disease management plan get them. Even less use of other services. However, this is unfortunate.
Maria’s research shows that more coordinated and comprehensive primary health care can improve the health of older people. This may reduce the risk of hospitalization and other health problems. “This approach also results in significant cost savings,” she says.
community of stakeholders
Stakeholders who provide primary health care to older adults in aged care settings guide Maria’s research. “That community also helps us put our findings into practice,” Maria says.
Maria’s project “Using Big Data to Create Evidence-Based Primary Health Care Service Delivery and Policy for the Aged Care Sector in Australia – A National Study” was awarded a $1,435,000 grant from the MRFF. received. In 2021, MRFF contributed to her ROSA support with her $2 million grant.
Leave a Reply