End of life: Using IT to improve your care

End of life: Using IT to improve your care 310

A blog post by Professor Jennifer Tieman, Flinders University and Technology and Innovation Lead, ELDAC

The ELDAC Digital Dashboard is simply a set of reports and alerts that can be built into IT systems using common data points to help those providing care and those in management roles understand end of life activity in their service. In particular, the dashboard aims to:

  • Support a consistent and comprehensive approach to end of life
  • Show what is happening (client level, manager level, organisation level)
  • Provide triggers and flags for care prompts
  • Assist in reporting and/or benchmarking

The prototype dashboard has been based on a review of the policy and practice evidence around end of life and incorporates the ELDAC Care Model. It helps care staff and managers answer questions such as “Which of our residents may be in the last months of life and don’t have an advance care plan?” or “Have all of our clients and residents we think may be in the last months of life had a family meeting or conference in last three months?” Being able to track palliative care activity in this way promotes a culture that recognises the value of care at the end of life for the person, the family, and the service.

In late 2020, we conducted an implementation trial with 14 aged care sites. The sites were connected to an IT system which had already integrated the ELDAC Digital Dashboard. Care managers, nurses and even administration staff used the dashboard for an 8-week trial period. In the post implementation interviews and focus groups, participants reported that the dashboard showed what was happening at the client level, as well as at the service level. For care managers it helped with audit, compliance and to assure accountability in end-of-life processes. Clinical staff and managers reported that the engagement with the dashboard facilitated family conversations about a resident’s decline and care needs. The dashboard also helped the team in recognising gradual end of life. For services where the role of end of life and palliative care was still evolving, having access to the associated suite of ELDAC resources was seen as a real value add.

We are now working with the sector to build uptake of the ELDAC Digital Dashboard within the systems being promoted by aged care IT companies. As the Royal Commission into Safety and Quality in Aged Care has identified, end of life is a critical part of care in the aged care sector, and clinical IT systems that can support services in providing this care are essential. The ELDAC Digital Dashboard is a trustworthy way for IT companies to make use of existing data points to provide an integrated reporting system to support the aged care services using their clinical system. The beauty is the hard work has been done in identifying the clinical points and needed data variables.

We are keen to talk to aged care IT providers about how to upgrade their system to include the ELDAC Digital Dashboard. We are also keen to talk to aged care services about how they can encourage their IT provider to enhance their system with this focus on end-of-life monitoring. We have put together updated resources on our Digital Dashboard pages, which share the case stories and introduce you to some of the dashboard resources.

Please contact us and find out more by emailing the project: ELDAC.Project@flinders.edu.au or contacting the Project Lead, Jennifer Tieman, by emailing jennifer.tieman@flinders.edu.au


Profile picture of Jennifer Tieman


Professor Jennifer Tieman, Flinders University and Technology and Innovation Lead at ELDAC