Extracting Symptoms of Agitation in Dementia from Free-Text Nursing Notes Using Advanced Natural Language Processing

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Studies in health technology and informatics


Nursing staff record observations about older people under their care in free-text nursing notes. These notes contain older people's care needs, disease symptoms, frequency of symptom occurrence, nursing actions, etc. Therefore, it is vital to develop a technique to uncover important data from these notes. This study developed and evaluated a deep learning and transfer learning-based named entity recognition (NER) model for extracting symptoms of agitation in dementia from the nursing notes. We employed a Clinical BioBERT model for word embedding. Then we applied bidirectional long-short-term memory (BiLSTM) and conditional random field (CRF) models for NER on nursing notes from Australian residential aged care facilities. The proposed NER model achieves satisfactory performance in extracting symptoms of agitation in dementia with a 75% F1 score and 78% accuracy. We will further develop machine learning models to recommend the optimal nursing actions to manage agitation.

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