Danielle Taylor (IAG ‘PLACE’)

Research leader of the Frailty Web Map, early career researcher Danielle Taylor has produced a geographic information tool to aid decision makers plan services to assist Australia’s growing ageing and increasingly frail population. The easy to use and freely available interactive web map presents detailed geographic information about the current and expected future distribution of Australia’s frail and pre-frail population for local areas. Launched in September 2019, the Frailty Web Map is the first of its type in the world and has drawn media attention, in addition to being used to support government health reporting (see supporting document Qld Health) and aged care service planning (see supporting document Resthaven). The research highlights the importance of geographic research to health care planning and policy, and in particular the value of Dr Taylor’s contribution to provide critical information to address the growing issue of frailty across Australia.

Dr Danielle Taylor is the research leader of the Frailty Web Map, a research project that has produced modelled estimates of the geographic distribution and projected changes to Australia’s frail and pre-frail population, making this information freely accessible via an online interactive map. Launched in September 2019, the Frailty Web Map is the first of its type in the world. It presents detailed geographic information and visualisations of the current and expected future distribution of Australia’s frail and pre-frail population by SA2 areas, for 2011, 2016 and 2027. It promotes an

increased awareness of the issue of frailty and provides an easy to use geographic information tool, which supports policy makers and service providers match available resources, such as health services and frailty intervention programs, with the populations that need them. Reducing frailty will improve the quality of life of many older Australians, enabling them to remain independent and living in their own homes, while also reducing the high utilisation and costs of providing health services to these vulnerable populations.

The peer reviewed research led by Dr Taylor (Taylor et al., 2019), which underpins the frailty web map (http://www.spatialonline.com.au/frailtyestimates) has resulted from interdisciplinary collaborations by researchers at the University of Adelaide’s NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Frailty and Healthy Ageing and is a demonstration of Dr Taylor’s ability to promote and demonstrate the unique and valuable contribution a geographic perspective can make to interdisciplinary health research. The need for and value of this research was identified in a recommendation made by a Department of Health report on frailty that recommended:

“the development of a map of inferred frailty prevalence for all of Australia, using Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Such a resource would be invaluable to researchers and policy makers to develop a map of frailty prevalence for policy, planning and research purposes” (Benetas 2017, page 9).

References

Benetas (2017) Frailty in Comminity Dwelling Older People-Using Frailty Screening as the Canary in the Coal Mine. Report Commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health. https://www.benetas.com.au/assets/documents/Frailty-Report-abridged.pdf.

Taylor, D., H. Barrie, J. Lange, M. Thompson, O. Theou and R. Visvanathan (2019) "Geospatial Modelling of the Prevalence and Changing Distribution of Frailty in Australia - 2011 to 2027." Experimental Gerontology 123, 57-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2019.05.010