Project to provide better care for older patients

15 Apr 2015

Vulnerable older hospital patients will benefit from an early warning-and-response system that has attracted more than $777,000 in Federal funding.

The University of Queensland Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine has received $777,296 from the Federal Department of Social Services for a three-year project to develop and test a new assessment system for acute hospital care.  

Centre Director Professor Len Gray said the system would be designed for use on all adult inpatients, and would be most valuable for older patients.

“Older patients admitted to hospital have a greater risk of developing geriatric syndromes such as functional decline, falls, delirium, pressure ulcers, loss of autonomy and morale, which may ultimately lead to placement in long-term residential care,” Professor Gray said. 

“Our proposal is to create an early warning and response system for all patients who are admitted to acute care, integrating case findings and good aged-care practice into the program of general care.

Researchers will develop and refine a nurse-administered assessment system comprising a suite of diagnostic and risk-assessment tools.

“This will fill a gap in cognitive, functional and psychosocial screening and assessment, ensuring appropriate treatment and action at the time of admission,” Professor Gray said.

The funding is for Australian testing across four hospitals in Queensland and Victoria, and the project involves Canada’s Mt Sinai Hospital and the Christchurch Hospital in New Zealand.  

It is led by Professor Gray, Associate Professor Ruth Hubbard and Dr Nancye Peel. 

Media: UQ Centre for Online Health communications manager Joanne Grey, 07 3176 9093,, University of Queensland Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine Associate Professor Ruth Hubbard,  07 3176 5530,