Aged Care

Using AI to assess frailty levels in aged care


A researcher from James Cook University is working on adapting artificial intelligence (AI) technology to evaluate frailty levels in older adults. The goal is to make caring for older people more efficient.

PhD student Jonathan Kong says there were over 500,000 Australians aged 85 and above in 2019 and that number is expected to triple by 2058.

“Frailty is a decline in physical strength, endurance and physiological function and an increasing vulnerability to adverse health outcomes.,” Kong said. “In aged care, understanding frailty is essential as it impacts the level of care and resources required by people.”

He notes that assessing frailty is complex, with no uniform system and a wide variety of techniques currently used.

“I’ll be using systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence – otherwise known as AI, and machine learning algorithms – where computers learn and improve their learning over time autonomously – to analyse health records and uncover indicators of frailty in these reports,” said Kong.

The ultimate goal is to improve predicting how long patients will need to stay in aged care homes.

“I’m planning on producing a dashboard for real-time visualisation of frailty data,” Kong said. “So, if you can imagine a top-down plan of an aged care facility, with each room colour-coded to indicate accurately the amount of care and assistance the resident needs in real time, that’s my goal.”

Kong believes the research could lead to better strategies for managing aged care and enhancing the quality of care for the elderly.

“The efficiency it will bring to addressing the challenges associated with resource and workforce limitations in the sector will also help support the sustainability of aged care into the future,” he said.

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Ritchelle is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel, Australia’s premier resource of information for healthcare.

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