Australian project and initiatives

The initiatives and projects listed here were current as of February 2023. As technology and innovation is a fast-paced, ever-changing area, this is unlikely to be a comprehensive listing. Please contact us if you would like us to consider an Australian study, project, or initiative focusing on technology in aged care settings for inclusion on this website.

Australian government-funded projects

Digital transformation for the aged care sector initiative

Funding body: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
Digital transformation in the aged care sector is a fundamental pillar that enables broader aged care reform. Over the coming years, the Department of Health and Aged Care will provide the sector with advice about the roadmap for change and immediate priorities through its regular Tech Talk webinar series. It will also be working closely with policy partners, other government agencies, and the aged care sector.

Residential aged care facility telehealth infrastructure grants

Leading organisation: Australian Primary Health Care Networks (PHNs)
Funding body: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
Primary Health Networks across Australia have received Australian Government funding to improve telehealth infrastructure in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) so that residents have increased access to primary care services where they choose to have a virtual consultation and it’s safe and reasonable to do so. Timely access to primary healthcare professionals, whether through face-to-face consultation or telehealth, is recognised as an issue for many RACFs, that in some cases can lead to potentially preventable hospitalisations. The purpose of this grant program is to support RACFs improve telehealth facilities to support access to virtual consultations for their residents.

End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) technology and innovation
Lead organisation: Consortium of Queensland University of Technology partnered with Flinders University, UTS, Palliative Care Australia, ACCPA, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), and Catholic Health Australia (CHA).
Funding body: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
ELDAC uses innovative technology solutions to assist those who work in aged care and palliative care. The tools will provide access to information and resources including online toolkits for those who provide residential aged care, home care and primary care. Other digital and technology initiatives include a digital dashboard that can be embedded by IT companies for use by clients using their IT system, a careworker app and an online self-care tool, and a home care search filter for the PubMed database.

Digital Health CRC
Funding body: Co-funded through the Commonwealth Government's Cooperative Research Program (Department of Industry, Science and Resources) and participant organisations.
An initiative that connects the technology industry, the health sector and academia to invest in collaborative research and develop what harnesses the power of data and digital technologies to improve health outcomes and increase efficiency in health and aged care delivery.

Aged care data compare project

Leading organisation: Digital Health CRC
Funding body: BUPA Health Foundation, Department of Health and Aged Care, University of Queensland
A project aimed at improving the data sharing capacity within the residential aged care industry, in order to make clinical information systems more consistent, reliable and efficient. Project outcomes include developing a technical data specification for the healthcare data shared by residential aged care facility providers, and building a prototype data hub so providers can exchange data, and benchmark the care they provide.  

Predicting resident deterioration and acute care needs in aged care
Lead organisation: Digital Health CRC
Funding body: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University), Telstra Corporation Limited
This project will leverage data from Telstra Health’s residential aged care system to develop algorithms to aid aged care professionals in identifying residents whose health is deteriorating so that appropriate care and resources can be provisioned.

Department of Health and Aged Care Data Strategy 2022-25
Lead organisation: Department of Health and Aged Care
Funding body: Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
The Data Strategy provides the overarching strategic direction to guide departmental data and analytics activities to support evidence-based policy, programs and service delivery for the aged care sector.

Registered research trials

While the results of these programs of research may not yet be known, awareness of work in progress can inform other works in the planning phase and serve to connect researchers with potential participants or future collaborators. The following research trials were identified and added to the Knowledge and Implementation Hub in February 2023. For clinical trials in aged care added since this time, try searching the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry

Drawing out care: Using animation and digital technologies to support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) family carers and people living with dementia (2021- )
Leading organisation: National Ageing Research Institute
Funding body: MRFF, Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission
This 3-year study aims to improve the lives of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) family carers and people living with dementia using animations, digital fact sheets, and a multilingual chat-bot, collectively titled the Draw-Care Intervention. The animated films and digital fact sheets will be based on our partner's - the World Health Organization - iSupport Lite programme. Using co-production methods, i-Support Lite with be culturally adapted by working with CALD family carers, clinicians, service providers, and people living with dementia, as well as partners Dementia Australia and the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia. The clinical and cost effectiveness of the Draw-Care Intervention will then be evaluated in a trial with 194 Italian, Greek, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Tamil, Arabic, Vietnamese, and Spanish-speaking carers. These groups reflect Australia’s top 10 established and emerging older CALD communities.

Music Attuned Technology Care eHealth (MATCH): A music based mobile eHealth solution to support care of people with dementia
Lead organisation: University of Melbourne
Funding body: MRFF, Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission
The Music Attuned Technology Care eHealth (MATCH) aims to develop and test the acceptability of a mobile eHealth technology that draws on the unique power of music to support the care of people with dementia. The technology teaches carers how to use music in a targeted way, to reduce agitation, stimulate autobiographical recall, and shared meaningful experiences. A feature of the eHealth solution will be its ability to monitor the agitational state of the person living with dementia and adjust the music accordingly to meet the changing needs.

Transforming wound care through telehealth in aged care
Lead organisation: COVIU Global Pty Ltd
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Rapid Applied Research Translation
This project responds to an urgent call to further develop telehealth to increase access to wound care in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), especially for residents needing care in place and rural settings. A suite of digital tools including mobile imaging will be developed, tested and integrated into an existing secure telehealth video call platform, enabling data visualisation of patient assessments including wound and vital sign changes, clinical decision making support, transdisciplinary consultation and access to educational materials. Following review of implementation in metropolitan and rural RACFs, a cluster randomised trial will evaluate clinical efficacy, acceptability and impact on patient quality of life.

Creating partnership in iSupport program to optimise carers' impact on dementia care (2021-2025)
Lead organisation: Flinders University
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission, NHMRC/The Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) World Class Research Project Grants
The aims of this study are to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an innovative patient-centred dementia care approach, ‘Partnership in iSupport program’. The program is designed to enhance support for carers and improve their ability to manage dementia at home. The expected outcomes are improved quality of life and health for carers and care recipients and reduced hospital admission, emergency department use and premature admission to aged care homes of care recipients.

Registry of Senior Australians: Improving care and outcomes in aged care (2021-2024)
Lead organisation: South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Primary Health Care Research Data Infrastructure
The Registry of Senior Australians (ROSA) is a nationwide aged and healthcare data linkage platform and outcomes monitoring system developed by SAHMRI. The ROSA will create a 'big data' platform through extension and expansion of ROSA infrastructure to keep pace with emerging issues (e.g. COVID-19) and continue ground-breaking research on key, and currently unknown, residential aged care impacts with new datasets (immunisation, rehabilitation and social welfare data). With project partners, ROSA will be embedded into routine aged care monitoring and build the sector’s digital health literacy. Project outcomes will position ROSA as the only national data solution for evidence-based policy and practice change in residential aged care.

Optimising health information exchange during aged care transfers (2021-2024)
Lead organisation: Monash University
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Primary Health Care Research Data Infrastructure
This project aims to develop and test a national solution for integrated data sharing that puts the resident at the centre of care and meets the data and system requirements of multiple end users. Outcomes include improved quality and safety of care for residents in residential aged care and health systems savings through increased efficiencies.

Prevention of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in aged care (PreSTAC): Effective evidence-based measures for rapid translation (2021-2023)
Lead organisation: South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need COVID-19
Infection control measures in residential aged care facilities have proven insufficient to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks, with devastating consequences. The PreSTAC project compares an inexpensive and rapidly implementable germicidal ultraviolet air-treatment strategy, used in conjunction with existing infection control measures, with existing measures alone, as a means to reduce rates of respiratory viral infection in residential aged care facilities.

Technology assisted and remotely delivered anxiety psychotherapy intervention for people living with dementia and their care partners (Tech-CBT)
Lead organisation: University of Queensland
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care Mission
Anxiety is a rising concern and a largely unmet need in people living with dementia and their carers. This research evaluates whether a new technology assisted psychotherapy intervention to reduce anxiety in individuals with dementia and carers (Tech-CBT), is an effective, scalable and cost-effective tool for improving quality of life and for decreasing adverse health outcomes for those living with dementia and their carers. Potential and ease of its future uptake will also be assessed.

Development, validation and implementation of a computerised tool to assess instrumental activities of daily living
Lead organisation: University of New South Wales
Funding body: MRFF, 2020 Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) are essential to live independently. This project will develop and validate a computerised tool to assess IADL in older people with and without dementia. The tool is based on the existing Sydney Test of Everyday Activities in Memory Disorders (STAM), which is a validated and internationally used instrument. Advantages of a computerised tool are better accessibility for both clinicians and patients, reduced costs, and shortened administration time.

Transforming residential aged care through evidence-based informatics (2022-2024)
Lead organisation: Macquarie University
Funding body: MRFF, 2021 Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care
Poor medication management is a critical and, to date, intractable problem in aged care, impacting residents’ wellbeing. Informatics approaches have enormous potential to improve medication management, reduce the workload of aged care staff, and support residents and families to access timely information. This project will demonstrate how informatics can support monitoring of medication quality, provide decision support to guide decision-making, and provide consumers with real-time information.

Elucidating the role of sleep in Alzheimer's disease pathology: Innovation in sleep technology and biomarkers
Lead organisation: Monash University
Funding body: Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Faye Williams Innovation Grant
Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 480,000 Australians, with future growth predicted. Identifying ways to minimise the risk of this disease is critical and enhancing sleep has been identified as potentially transformative in the fight to promote brain and cognitive health in older adults. But not all sleep is the same. Slow wave sleep, the deepest form of sleep, protects the brain and is critical for cognition. This form of sleep however, declines significantly with age, particularly in those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This project utilises a new sleep technology which delivers perfectly timed acoustic tones to enhance slow wave sleep in older adults. It will examine the effect of sleep enhancement on the clearance of Alzheimer’s-related toxins by using innovative blood collection techniques, and memory function through cutting-edge cognition measures.

e-DiVA: Empowering dementia carers with an isupport virtual assistant (2021-2024)
Lead organisation: National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) Limited
Funding body: NHMRC
e-DiVA aims to translate the WHO iSupport to Bahasa, te reo Māori and Vietnamese, and culturally and contextually adapt it to fit the health and social care systems of Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Vietnam. This work will culminate in the development of an iSupport Virtual Assistant comprising a website and a smart device app that will allow carers to search topics using text or voice command and provide video instruction to support them in their caring role. Evaluation of the feasibility, acceptability and possible effects of the iSupport Virtual Assistant on stress, psychological distress and quality of life will be done through a randomised controlled trial.

IMPART - IMproving PAlliative care in Residential aged care using Telehealth (2022-2025)
Lead organisation: National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) Limited
Funding body: NHMRC, Targeted Call for Research into End-of-life Care
Sixty-thousand Australians die every year in residential aged care facilities, but the quality of their end-of-life care varies. The IMPART programme aims to improve palliative care in residential aged care using telehealth. We provide training and palliative-geriatric support to aged care staff and general practitioners to enable timely end-of-life discussions, improve documentation of care preferences, reduce avoidable hospitalisation and improve residents' quality of care at the end of life.

Implementing technology-supported home-based care for older Australians
Leading organisation: National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) Limited
Funding body: ARIIA
Using co-design methods, NARI and Silverchain will identify the technological capacity of the aged care workforce to integrate technology into the care they provide in the home.

How to address the ‘shocking tale of neglect’ in aged care through transparency, accountability, and the use of high-quality analytics (2021-2025)
Leading organisation: South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
Funding body: NHMRC
The Royal Commission into Aged Care shows that an improved understanding of how the aged care sector is caring for older Australians is a national priority. The Registry of Senior Australians, at the SAHMRI, is a large-scale registry database that will be used to evaluate the health and wellbeing of older Australians. This research will enable the development and implementation of a transparent outcome monitoring system and tools to address the “Shocking tale of neglect” older Australians are experiencing.

Leveraging big data to maximise the impact of pharmacists on medicines safety in aged care
Leading organisation: University of South Australia
Funding body: NHMRC
Investigator Grant    The recent Aged Care Royal Commission recommended urgent action to improve medicines use in aged care services. This project will tell us more about the effects of medicines when they are used by people receiving aged care services, so that health professionals can make improvements. It will also establish a system to guide best practice for pharmacists who work in aged care settings and monitor for improvements in medicines use, health and wellbeing among people who receive aged care services.

A dashboard of predictive analytics and decision support to drive care quality and person-centred outcomes in aged care (2019-2024)
Leading organisation: Macquarie University
Funding body: NHMRC
The community is demanding better quality aged care and greater transparency; a system that responds to older peoples’ needs, identifies risks, and answers in effective and compassionate ways. The sector is data rich but information poor. Rarely are data silos integrated, used or shared with clients to enhance care. This project, through an innovative dashboard, will mobilise existing data to provide clients and care providers with actionable information to improve their wellbeing and outcomes.

A physiotherapy-led telehealth and exercise intervention to improve mobility in older people receiving aged care services: An effectiveness and implementation randomised controlled trial (The TOP UP Study). (2022- )
Leading organization: University of Sydney
Funding body: Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Project Grant, ARIIA
This partnership between University of Sydney, Uniting Agewell, the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, and the Sydney Local Health District involves training home care workers to undertake exercise support tasks. Physiotherapists will then provide sessions via telehealth to home care customers using the Uniting AgeWell Video Calling Tablets.

Dossy project: community connect (2023)
Leading organisation: Dossy Company, Uniting Agewell, University of Melbourne, and Two Bulls
Funding body: ARIIA
Dossy is closing the tech gap between our elderly loved ones, their friends, families and carers (social isolation). This project, supported from an ARIIA grant, is a pilot trial of a video app that will connect aged care clients with volunteers in an intuitive, meaningful way.

The ADEPT project (2023)
Leading organisation: The University of South Australia, Tanunda Lutheran Home, Tyree Foundation Institute of Health Engineering, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and Healthy Care Services
Funding body: ARIIA
The ADEPT project, supported from an ARIIA grant, features a digitally enabled pharmacist service to detect and manage medicine harms in residential aged care (urgent and critical need).

CareWindow (2023)
Leading organisation: The James Anthony Group and Anglicare SA
Funding body: ARIIA
CareWindow is an iPad-sized video-calling device to help people in aged care communicate easily with relatives. It is designed to reduce the challenges some older people experience in using digital technologies such as smartphones, laptops or tablets (i.e., iPads), especially those with reduced eyesight, sequencing or mobility issues. Several prototypes of this device are currently being trialled in an aged care facility in Adelaide. CareWindow will also assist aged care staff who have limited time to facilitate telecommunication.

An innovative virtual reality experience for people living with mild dementia in aged care
Leading organisation: Deakin University, SilVR Adventures and Villa Maria Catholic Homes Limited
Funding body: ARIIA
This project, supported from an ARIIA grant, is a collaboration with Victoria's largest for-purpose provider of disability, education, accommodation and senior services (VMCH) and Deakin University. It seeks to implement an innovative virtual reality experience for people living with mild dementia in residential aged care.

HomeGuardian.AI Pty Ltd (2023-2025)
Leading organisation: HomeGuardian.AI Pty Ltd, Villa Maria Catholic Homes Limited, Deakin  University
Funding body: Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants
HomeGuardian is a leader in fall detection technology; however, existing capability is limited to the device triggering an alert after a fall has occurred. HomeGuardian has identified an opportunity to identify indicators that occur prior to a fall, allowing carers to take preventative actions to reduce the likelihood of a fall. Using predictive indicators to reduce the incidence of falls would make the HomeGuardian device the first product in the global market to provide this functionality. Developing this technology requires collaboration between machine learning and practice development experts and testing in aged care settings to ensure efficacy and feasibility.

Sensor and data innovation for smart triaging for at-risk Australians (2022-2024)
Leading organisation: Vlepis Solutions Pty Ltd, RMIT, CareTeq Limited, University of Technology Sydney, NSW Smart Sensing Network, 
Great Communities Pty Ltd, Allambie Heights Village Ltd, Machinery Forum (Vic) Pty Ltd
Funding body: Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants
This project is about unleashing Australian-manufactured sensing technologies and AI-powered decision support software to enable care providers to remotely identify, monitor and triage health risks and prioritise care for at-risk members of our community. The result is fewer unnecessary deaths, more manageable workloads, greater productivity, less suffering, and greater access to the quality proactive care that every Australian deserves.

Palatable and functional nutrition and safety for dysphagia patients (2021-2024)
Leading organisation: Trisco Foods Pty Ltd, The University of Queensland, Flinders University, Japara Aged Care Services Pty Ltd
Funding body: Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants
This project will address current inadequacies in the nutrition, palatability and safety of thickened food for dysphagia patients, through the development and upscaling of a new-to-the-world liquid-based viscosity inhibited food and beverage thickening formulation. In so doing, the project will overcome significant co-morbidities such as dehydration and malnutrition in dysphagia patients, by combining biologically derived ingredients in a patented formulation, which aims to lower the prescribed consistency of thickened foods, while not compromising safety. A production process will be scaled-up allowing first commercial sales to national industry players, who will also participate in the project’s research.

The Goldilocks suit: Smart garments to help older people age well at home
Leading organisation: University of Adelaide's ThincLab, Goldilocks, ECH
Funding body: South Australian Innovation Challenge
Goldilocks Suit has received $230,000 in partnership with The University of Adelaide and ECH to develop a range of ‘smart garments’ to help older people age well at home. 

AI-based sound detection sensor technology
Leading organisation: University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Life Care and REDARC Electronics
Funding body: South Australian Innovation Challenge
AI-based sound detection sensor technology to support older people to live independently and safely in their homes.