Healthcare to Homecare
Using advanced devices, wearables, and data to help assess, prevent and treat causes of frailty amongst seniors.
Project Budget* - $2.5M
Partner Co-investment* - $1.5M
Supercluster Co-investment* - $1.0M
As society ages, a growing number of Canadians are facing the challenges of frailty. More than 1.5 million Canadians are living with frailty, with that number expected to grow by 33 percent over the next five years as it pushes related health care costs to $3 billion a year across Canada.
Driven by injuries and illnesses, frailty leads to a vicious downward cycle in the health of aging patients. As they grow increasingly frail, these individuals become unable to handle daily tasks, which leads to a need for elevated care, admission to residential care homes, hospitalization, and extended hospital stays. As such, there is a specific need for comprehensive testing that will provide a more contextual perspective of an individual’s condition, taking into consideration not just one or two variables, but many of the multifactorial contributors to frailty such as gait mobility, balance, cognitive-motor behaviour, and a number of vital signs together with co-morbidities and lifestyle issues.
The Healthcare to Homecare consortium is working to eliminate this grim and costly cycle by developing a Frailty Care System (FCS) that enhances the practice of recommending that frail individuals remain in their homes for as long as possible, and provides essential services in these home environments. Made up of technology and digital health companies XCO, iClinic, Kinduct and Indoc Research, as well as the Ontario Brain Institute and the University of Victoria, the consortium is further supported by Theory and Practice (TAP) and IBM Canada, and advised by the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN), Quebec Network for Research on Aging (QNRA/RQRV), and the BC Ministry of Health.
Until the introduction of the FCS, most if not all frailty assessment measures have been either too disparate or imprecise to offer definitive treatment, management and monitoring plans. To address this shortfall, the FCS offers a unique assessment, treatment and patient engagement portal for the management of patients along the fitness and frailty continuum. It does this by bringing together a divergent array of data from sources such as wearable sensors and electronic medical records into a single platform from which a physician or caregiver will gain a clear view of a patient’s status and progress. Combined with extensive care management software and patient engagement applications, this will produce the first end-to-end software solution for predicting, assessing, monitoring, stabilizing, slowing and, in some cases, preventing and even reversing frailty in the aging population.
Frailty is one of the Top 10 prioritized needs in Canadian healthcare, according to recent CFN recommendations that call for seniors to receive “Aging Well” Frailty Assessments. By testing older adults who range from being physically fit to frail, the FCS addresses this need by creating a baseline frailty measure. Interventional therapies can then be deployed, with the established baseline enabling further testing to determine whether therapies are having a meaningful impact on a patient’s condition. This approach results in an objective measure of frailty status, as well as fall risk predictability. Nearly everyone aged 65 and older is at risk of falling at least once, after all, with these falls often leading to life-long injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.
Furthermore, the FCS provides currently unavailable assessments of a wide variety of age-related chronic conditions such as cardiovascular arrhythmias and Parkinson’s Disease. These assessments will not only inform clinicians on how patients scored in testing, it will also provide information about why they scored well or poorly. These factors differentiate the FCS from any previous approach.
Delaying the onset of frailty, and putting in place prevention and home-care strategies at an early stage, will provide substantive improvement in a patient’s quality of life and in cost savings. The FCS will also reduce costs by streamlining the implementation and validation of health interventions used today. Last but certainly not least, the system will empower patients to participate in their own health through unique engagement tools.