Common Clinical Tools - ELDAC

Common ELDAC Clinical Tools

Documenting clinical care in a standardised way ensures the multidisciplinary healthcare team have common benchmarks to identify critical points along the journey and to monitor progress. Clinical tools assist in reliable assessment and interpretation of clinical information; supporting the decision-making process.

Ensuring consistency across the ELDAC project, the toolkit developers have identified twelve clinical tools which are common to most. Consistency in the use of clinical tools across settings, as recommended by ELDAC, decreases complexity and variation for health and aged care teams; regardless of where they are caring for the older person be it in home care, primary care or in a residential aged care home.

Recognise End of Life

Clinical Tool Explanation Home Care Toolkit Primary Care Toolkit Residential Aged Care Toolkit
Supportive and Palliative Care Indicator Tool (SPICT)
*Requires free registration for access
Facilitate timely identification of a person in need of palliative care.  Yes  Yes  Yes

Assess Palliative Care Needs

Clinical Tool Explanation Home Care Toolkit Primary Care Toolkit Residential Aged Care Toolkit
Modified Borg Scale (mBORG) (181kb pdf) Rate the difficulty of breathing.  Yes  Yes  Yes
NAT-CC – Needs Assessment Tool for Caregivers (148kb pdf) Identify caregiver needs.  Yes  Yes N.A
Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) - Shortened version (142kb pdf) Detect the presence of delirium in individuals.  Yes  Yes  Yes
Cornell Scale for Depression (CSD) – available in the ACFI Assessment Pack (CSD pages 10-13 and pages 27-40; 492kb pdf). Assessment of depression in people with dementia who can at least communicate basic needs. Use K10 Use K10  Yes
Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) (64kb pdf) Measure psychological distress.  Yes  Yes Use Cornell Scale for Depression
Symptom Assessment Scale (SAS) (169kb docx) Measures severity of distress of the following symptoms: (1) Difficulty sleeping; (2) Appetite problems; (3) Nausea; (4) Bowel problems; (5) Breathing problems; (6) Fatigue; and (7) Pain.  Yes  Yes  Yes
Mini-Nutritional Assessment Short-Form (68.5kb pdf) Identify a person who is malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.  Yes  Yes  Yes
Abbey Pain Scale (38.2kb pdf) Measure pain in a person who cannot verbalise.  Yes  Yes  Yes
Modified Resident's Verbal Brief Pain Inventory (M-RVBPI) (112kb pdf) Assess pain when the person is able to communicate.  Yes N.A  Yes
Numerical Rating Scale for pain (NRS) (87.9kb pdf) Assess pain intensity for persons able to self-report.  Yes  Yes  Yes
Verbal Descriptor Scale (Pain Thermometer) (73.4kb pdf) Assess pain in people able to verbalise or point to the descriptor on the thermometer most closely representing their pain.  Yes  Yes  Yes

Criteria used to select the clinical tools

  • Ability to be applied in the Australian context;
  • Designed and validated for use with older people;
  • Useful clinically;
  • Avoiding tools requiring a paid subscription – noting that some clinical tools will require a one off free registration;
  • Intuitive to use by the relevant care providers across the aged care sector;
  • Recommended by a peak body (for example, included within a health pathway); and
  • Current.


Where organisations already recommend a set of preferred clinical tools, the ELDAC common clinical tools should be seen as complementing these.

Page updated 22 May 2019