Around 15% (4 million) Australians are aged 65 and over and this percentage is projected to more than double by 2057. Key challenges include how to best meet the health needs of an ageing population with increasing rates of chronic disease and disability, better coordinating health care and aged care services, and delivering the care that people want at the end of their lives. Our research in ageing and end-of-life uses multiple sources of big data, including hospital, Medicare, pharmaceutical and aged care records to tackle questions including:

  • How many cases of dementia are attributable to modifiable risk factors such as inactivity and smoking?
  • Who is most likely to participate in online dementia prevention programs?
  • Does hospitalisation for heart conditions and stroke increase the chances of being admitted to residential aged care?
  • Does provision of home care result in less time spent in residential aged care?
  • Does community-based palliative care for people with cardiovascular disease reduce hospitalisation and invasive procedures at end-of-life?

Project: Translating the evidence on dementia risk reduction to generate assessments, advice and training for health professionals, policy makers, patients and public - NHMRC Boosting Dementia

Leveraging Evidence into Action for Dementia! (LEAD!) is a project funded by a NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Grant. Led by Professor Kaarin Anstey at Neurosciences Research Australia, it involves an international collaboration between leading academics, clinicians, consumers, and community members. Organisations involved include the Department of Health, WHO, Dementia Australia, Alzheimer’s Disease International, Diabetes Australia, and Heart Foundation.

The project aims to translate dementia research and implement evidence-based strategies for dementia risk reduction to individuals, communities, and healthcare centres. It seeks to develop a new risk tool for predicting dementia and other non-communicable diseases including stroke, diabetes, and myocardial infarction. Researchers at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health, Professor Louisa Jorm and Dr Heidi Welberry, are supporting the Evaluation and Adoption stream by (i) developing tools to assess national risk factor profile trajectories and (ii) investigating the feasibility of incorporating existing administrative and/or clinical data directly into the risk tools.