More than 300,000[i] Australians who visit an emergency department each year with joint, ligament, muscle, nerve and tendon pain could be soon receiving better care thanks to new research on the best way to treat musculoskeletal injuries.
Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) funded researcher and Queensland Health physiotherapist Kirsten Strudwick said the new study would create the benchmark for higher quality care for these types of injuries.
“The most common causes of musculoskeletal injuries are sport and exercising, falling at home or work, and minor accidents where people are hit by or run into an object,” Ms Strudwick said.
“We are monitoring the treatment of patients in eight emergency departments and, by following them from the moment they enter the ED, through their treatment to post-discharge support, we can see how their experience varies.
“That information will be used to set a gold standard process for dealing with musculoskeletal injuries in the ED.
“Ultimately, we want to maximise the quality of care while trying to use resources appropriately and ensure no patient is in an emergency room for longer than they need.”
The study has been made possible through a $274,000 EMF grant, funded by the Queensland Government.
EMF Chair Associate Professor Sally McCarthy said improving the treatment of common injuries was a clever way to have a big positive impact on the health system.
“Streamlining ED care has a ripple effect through the hospital system,” A/Prof. McCarthy said.
“Research like this helps focus the time and energy of our medical professionals when and where it’s most needed.
“EMF is committed to keeping Australia at the forefront of emergency medicine research and finding practical ways to improve patient care and the health system.”
Ms Strudwick is based at the QEII Jubilee Hospital in Queensland. The research project is being led by Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Director of Emergency Medicine, Dr Anthony Bell and involves clinicians and researchers from Princess Alexandra Hospital and The University of Queensland.
Photo: Queensland Health physiotherapis Kirsten Strudwick with patient Paul Lockley at QEII Hospital. Courtesy Queensland Health