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What is acuity?

In simple terms, ‘acuity’ is a measure of how unwell a person is and how much care they need.

In the world of healthcare, ‘acuity’ refers to intensity and severity of a resident’s care needs – including illness, injuries, and other health issues. Acuity helps healthcare providers assess how severe and complex a person's health condition is. Acuity considers things like the type of medical treatments needed, the level of monitoring required, whether specialised equipment is necessary, and how much healthcare resources are needed. By accurately understanding acuity, care providers can make sure they use their resources wisely and give people the right level of care.

A good example of using acuity is in aged care facilities. They regularly assess residents' acuity to figure out how much care and resources each person needs. This helps them distribute their time and attention fairly and make sure each resident gets the right level of care. For instance, if someone has a higher acuity, they might need more registered nurse hours to take care of them compared to other residents.

Remember that acuity can change over time. It can go up or down depending on how well the treatment is working, how the disease is progressing, or if there are any new problems.

Updated: 12 Jul 2023
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