A University of Adelaide study investigating the benefits of mobile X-ray services for residential aged care facilities has received $1,970,000 in funding from the Medical Research Future Fund.
Professor Guy Maddern, R.P. Jepson Professor of Surgery in the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine, is one of just two recipients Australia-wide for the grant through the National Health and Medical Research Council administered Targeted Health System and Community Organisation Research program.
The funding will be provided over three years.
Transfers to hospital are known to cause significant distress for the frail, especially those to emergency departments of hospitals.
Over 70% of emergency department presentations result in diagnostic X-ray imaging and over half of all presentations result in residents returning to their residential aged care facility.
Professor Maddern said mobile X-ray imaging was available but service cover was limited currently.
Initial results show mobile X-ray services reduce transfers to the ED, waiting times outside of the care facility, the number of overall hospitalisations and increase the access of residents to X-ray services.
“Although these are positive outcomes, the true impact on health outcomes and the wellbeing of residents is unknown,’’ he said.
“The study will use the Registry of Older South Australians to determine the historical and prospective utilisation of radiology services and associated health service use.
“These data will be complemented by an understanding of the preferences and attitudes of residents, their families and aged care providers have towards access to X-ray imaging.
“Additionally, the research will assess whether a Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) item to cover the call-out will facilitate service use and determine the cost-effectiveness of mobile radiology.”