In 2019, the Department of Health funded CareLynx to trial the CareLynx model in three remote Indigenous communities with the objectives of improving outcomes for Indigenous residents living in residential aged care facilities in these communities.
The CareLynx model provides a cloud-based application and remote clinical support and monitoring which embeds best practice care pathways to direct care providing real time clinical governance. Most importantly, the application monitors, measures and evaluates compliance based on the Single Quality Framework (SQF).
About the Trials
The trials used the technology-based solution to support the remote clinical management and monitoring of residents of residential aged care facilities at the three sites over a six-month period. The project also included a stakeholder engagement component requiring engagement with key stakeholders which also served to mitigate against risk ensuring the project was inclusive of all stakeholders at each location.
A condition of funding was that trial sites would be similar in location, size and governance arrangements. That is, that each site should be remote, should have a similar number of places available for residents and be a stand-alone service (i.e., not managed by a large provider).
Trials sites included Hope Vale, Roebourne and Yarrabah. Katherine in the NT was also included but for the stakeholder engagement component only. A total of 24 sites visits were undertaken over the six-month period of the project.
The Impact of CareLynx during Trials
Participating providers highlighted the independence of the CareLynx team from accreditation agencies and processes; on-the-ground expert advice from CareLynx team members with extensive remote and Indigenous residential aged care backgrounds; the value of a comprehensive model of care; the benefit of the Audit-style activities conducted by the CareLynx team and the options for identifying and rectifying poor clinical practices.
Further, the collection of resident data improved as a result of implementing CareLynx with the trials offering a holistic service delivery model to trial sites which worked well for providers. Importantly provider representatives saw the CareLynx trial as supportive of implementation of the Single Quality Framework and in one site full accreditation was awarded post the CareLynx trial.
Resident care improved across each site with a more focused approach to resident and family engagement and culturally appropriate life-style choices. This led to a more resident-centred approach recognising and promoting a renewed focus on culture including the importance of recording the resident’s preferred name, first language and country.
CareLynx highlighted as new pathway in Aged Care
The draft report was endorsed by the Department in September 2019 and found that the trial of the CareLynx model achieved positive results and was clearly applicable to other such residential aged care facilities. It also found that it had the capacity to identify areas for improvement and associated follow up actions as they related to clinical monitoring and care planning. Importantly, the project highlighted new pathways to access a greater range of healthcare professionals, resident lifestyle factors and end of life planning. Complimenting these findings was a clear shift towards more person-centred care.