CriSTAL : end-of-life screening tool

Researchers from the University of NSW have developed a screening tool that uses an algorithm to help identify elderly patients who are likely to die within a three-month period to potentially avoid harmful and futile treatments. While the tool, called the Criteria for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate aLternative care (CriSTAL), is predominantly being developed for emergency department triage or hospital discharge, it also has the potential to be used in other healthcare settings to initiate discussions with the elderly person and their families about end-of-life care planning.

In a paper published last week in BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, the researchers write that the 29 data points can be easily extracted from existing electronic or paper clinical notes, and that automation of CriSTAL and its scoring would facilitate its use at the time of admission.

"Potential uses include as a clinical support tool for decision-making on triage to appropriate end–of-life care facilities; to prevent death in some cases; and to examine variation in risk-of-death levels, differences in admission practices, and inform triage policies across hospitals as a first step into cost-effectiveness and patient satisfaction studies," they write.

Further information.

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