One of the most pervasive and destructive medical conditions in Australia is an illness that hardly anyone has heard about, called delirium. It kills thousands of people, while affecting hundreds of thousands of Australians and their families. What’s worse, it is one of the most misdiagnosed ailments in the country.
This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the medical community and society at large. When thousands are dying due to misdiagnosis, from a condition hardly anyone has heard about, something has to change.
The project, ‘Removing confusion for the critically ill’, will address the issue of misdiagnosis of patients with delirium in Intensive Care Units around Australia, through an app that aids significantly in accurate diagnosis.
Every year in Australia around 130,000 people will be admitted into a hospital Intensive Care Unit, and up to 80% of these critically ill patients face the very real possibility of misdiagnosis due to delirium.
Delirium is a condition impacting a person’s ability to communicate and give rational responses. In Intensive Care the problem is so much greater as the patients often can’t talk at all.
For the patients and their families this is a terrifying experience, as the patient experiences a profound mental change. The exact cause of delirium is still unknown.
The ICU team at The Prince Charles Hospital have developed an App that is a world first.
This tool is unique for a number of reasons:
If our project was rolled out to all ICU units across Australia, in just one year our project could be expected to reduce costs by $200 million annually in Australia alone, by reducing patient stays in ICU. For the healthcare professional the app removes the mystery around delirium and will inform the best decision and path of treatment, while for the patient it allows them to recover faster and get home sooner.
Delirium is a medical mystery that is costing lives, placing medical teams under more pressure and costing the health system between $3,000 and $10,000 for every additional day the patient is kept in ICU.
Dr Eamonn Eeles
Dr Eamonn Eeles is a Geriatrician and Head of Research, Internal Medicine Services at The Prince Charles Hospital. Dr Eeles is currently leading a major study into Dementia to help identify people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest stage. This study is a significant collaboration between The Prince Charles Hospital, Queensland Brain Institute and CSIRO.
Anna-Liisa Sutt is a Critical Care Speech Pathologist at The Prince Charles Hospital. Through her innovative research projects, Anna-Liisa has dramatically improved the health outcomes of tracheotomised ventilated patients who are admitted to TPCH.
Anna-Liisa is determined to give patients back their voice, and has a passion for helping the critically ill communicate – If they can talk, they can be an active participant in their care. Anna-Liisa has also noticed that patients were experiencing less delirium once they were able to verbally communicate. This is what has sparked her interest in looking into delirium assessment and management in more detail.
Professor John Fraser
Is a pre-eminent intensivist at The Prince Charles Hospital, where he founded and leads the multi-disciplinary Critical Care Research Group, the largest group of its kind in Australasia.
In 2014 his group was awarded The Centre for Research Excellence (one of only of six clinical CRE’s) in Australasia looking at the development and utilisation of bionic hearts and lungs, collaborating throughout Australia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia & China. Prof Fraser is driving new technologies and innovative artificial device development to tackle Australia's biggest killers.
At The Prince Charles Hospital, one of Australia’s largest heart and lung centres, the ICU team are implementing the App and already is showing incredible promise.
This App has the potential to become a standard diagnostic tool which should be implemented across the 230 ICU’s around Australia and has the potential for global application – with some estimating the possible saving on the health systems around the world and the economic impacts of misdiagnosis could be worth up to $150B annually.
It is critical we avoid any further confusion about delirium! This App would influence health care globally.
This time to act is now - we need your help - get on board today.
This innovative solution has been driven by the incredible minds in the Critical Care Research Group (CCRG) at The Prince Charles Hospital. It's only because of their dedication to create a better tomorrow that this initiative exists.