Results for Griffith University


Watch-house detainee emergency healthcare

In the acute phase of police detention, health concerns can emerge for detainees, especially around drug dependence, mental health conditions, and physical injury. In addition are system complexities including crowding.

In the event of an infectious disease outbreak (such as COVID-19), crowded conditions amongst a population with greater underlying burden of disease than the general population creates significant public health and economic concern. Furthermore, access to resources and expertise to manage health concerns in this environment can be challenging, especially in rural areas.

Researchers will interview key stakeholders involved with the care delivery and decision making of detainees, to identify innovative strategies to delivering healthcare in watch-house settings. This research will consider the decision making processes and costs associated with the delivery of healthcare in police watch-houses that may reduce the need for transfer to hospital emergency departments or reduce the potential for deaths in custody.

This research addresses the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation to understand how evidence-based health services can be provided for those requiring treatment, care and illness prevention whilst in police custody. It also identifies ways in which the need for expensive hospital stays can be minimised.

The expected impact of this research is the capability to identify and inform joined-up approaches so that cost-effective, safe, quality emergency care can be provided to detainees in police watch-house settings.

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SARS-CoV2 infection and immunity in frontline hospital staff during the COVID-19 pandemic

Health workers are at increased risk of exposure and infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). The implications of healthcare worker infection are wide-reaching and impact not only the worker, but also have implications for nosocomial spread in the pre-symptomatic phase and depletion of the skilled workforce required to manage an increased volume of presentations.

Front-line health care workers represent a unique cohort to follow for trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection, immune response and antibody production as well as monitoring for re-infection. Understanding the implications of staff infection on the potential for long-lasting immunity is of key significance to staff and leaders of EDs. Equally, understanding of asymptomatic staff infection can inform policy regarding routine screening of staff to minimise the risk of nosocomial spread to other staff and patients.

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The COVERED COVID study: Comprehensive Outcomes that VERify the impact on EDs from COVID-19

Reports worldwide indicate there has been a change in the cohort of patients seen within hospital emergency departments (EDs) during COVID-19, with fewer presentations for non-COVID symptoms, such as chest pain.

This study will evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on Queensland EDs by reviewing the number and nature of patient presentations, and generate a comprehensive statewide evidence-base to understand and manage patients who require emergency care during a global pandemic. It is expected that results will inform future management strategies and guiding documents generated in the event of a ‘second wave’, or other large scale disaster.

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Prospective Observational study of cannulation of Kids in the Emergency (POKIE)

Paediatric peripheral intravenous cannula (PIVC) insertion is a frequently performed procedure in the emergency department (ED), which can result in significant distress for both the child and caregiver, particularly when there are multiple attempts. Children with difficult intravenous access (DIVA) are generally poorly recognised but several studies have developed prediction tools. Furthermore, the use of ultrasound (US) has been demonstrated to improve the success rate of paediatric DIVA patients when used as an adjunct.

This research will shine a spotlight on current practice in the largest mixed ED in Queensland, which aims to determine factors contributing to paediatric DIVA patients and attitudes towards the use of US to assist first pass success. Furthermore, this background data will lay the foundation to inform an interventional trial using US to improve PIVC practices for children in the ED. Novice researchers in this project will be well supported by a research team with a strong track record of completing projects that can impact patient care

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Using bedside ultrasound to diagnose forearm fractures in children

This is a multicentre, open-labelled diagnostic randomised controlled trial to comparing the use of portable ultrasound and x-ray imaging to diagnose a buckle fracture in children. The trial will determine if there are differences in functional outcomes, patient and care-giver preferences, and health system benefits.

Children frequently present to the emergency department with forearm injuries and often have an x-ray to assess if there is a fracture. Due to the soft and plastic nature of the bones in young children, injuries can cause their bones to bend, known as a buckle fracture. Bedside ultrasound is a test that emergency practitioners can use to rapidly diagnose a fracture at the time of examination, without exposing children to ionising radiation. Ultrasound in this setting is well tolerated, only requiring light touch and gentle manipulation of the forearm and has similar accuracy when compared with x-rays for diagnosing children’s forearm fractures.

This is the first trial of its kind to assess whether an x-ray is unnecessary when there is either a buckle fracture or no fracture seen on a portable ultrasound machine. This is important as they can be treated at the time of review without any further delay, which will avoid these children being exposed to ionising radiation. Children will be randomised to receive either an ultrasound or x-ray for their forearm injury. Both groups will be followed up to see whether there are any differences in their recovery and to determine any complications. We will also determine the time and cost implications of this new approach, which could enable families to go home earlier and could be more cost-effective, with less x-rays being ordered.

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Understanding end-of-life care for older people presenting to the ED

The overarching aim of this study is to estimate the magnitude of the need for care at the end of life care in the emergency department, and to describe care delivery practices, processes and outcomes for older people who present to the emergency department requiring end of life care.
Australians aged 65 years and over account for 22% of emergency department presentations. Currently, this group makes up 15% of the population, but this predicted to rise to 20% by 2037.

There are two trajectories of end of life in the emergency department: ‘unexpected’ and ‘expected’ deaths. Unexpected deaths stem from acute illness or sudden, traumatic events. Expected deaths stem from deterioration of chronic illnesses.
When expected deaths occur in the emergency department, staff dissatisfaction and distress as well as frustration for patients and their families can result. In Singapore, around 50% of deaths in people aged ≥ 65 who died in one emergency department were considered ‘expected’. This highlights the need to understand if the situation is the same here in Australia and to what extent quality end of life care is provided for both trajectories of dying (i.e. expected and unexpected). Our study will identify the ‘unexpected’ and the ‘expected’ deaths among people aged ≥ 65 who die within 48 hours of emergency department presentation.

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Reaction of Emergency Services uPON Disasters in Queensland

From a health perspective, a disaster overwhelms the normal operating capacity of a health service, where an outside health response is required to restore and maintain the normal day-to-day health services and standards of care for the disaster-affected community. The Australian healthcare system is tested annually with disasters of a conventional nature (e.g., floods, cyclones, bushfires), however, the Australian healthcare system has not been recently tested by non-conventional disasters such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) disasters. As a result, the ability to determine the healthcare system response is difficult. Further, there is no research specific to the Australian emergency department’s capacity for disaster response in CBRNe events.

This study addresses this gap. We will use a mixed methods approach to undertake two discrete, yet related studies. Study 1 involves undertaking surveys with key emergency disaster personnel from seven Queensland hospitals to describe the capacity of hospital emergency care services ability to respond following a CBRNe disaster. Study 2 includes undertaking focus groups with key clinicians and leaders from the participating sites to identify and explore enablers and barriers within emergency care services to provide CBRNe disaster response. Findings from these studies will provide an evidence base regarding the capacity for several Queensland emergency departments, located in metropolitan, regional and rural settings, to respond to disasters.

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Clinician decision making in peripheral intravenous cannulation in emergency settings

Peripheral intravenous cannulation (PIVC) is a vital part of modern medicine, however the use of cannulas has become prolific, with many never used. The patient risks that are associated with PIVC are well documented, including pain and even infections, which can be severe and lead to death.

PIVCs which are inserted but never used (idle PIVC), have risks and downsides, but no potential benefits. Reducing the rate of idle PIVC may reduce the overall rate of risks, side-effects and infections associated with PIVC, but may also lead to patients who require PIVC not receiving one.

This study will look into the reasons why clinicians decide to insert a PIVC. Researchers aim to describe: I) the proportion of PIVCs placed that do not get used within 24 hours (idle PIVCs), II) differences between the pre-hospital setting and the emergency department and III) the factors associated with clinicians’ decision making regarding PIVC insertion.

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Paediatric Reduction in Emergency Cannula Accidental REmoval Trial – PRECARE trial

The aim of this study is to evaluate securement devices for peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVC) in the paediatric ED to determine which method is most effective for reducing PIVC failure, associated costs, acceptability and patient distress.

Infants and children depend on PIVCs for the provision of medical therapy within the emergency department and during hospitalisation. However, PIVC insertion and management is challenging and more than 25% of devices fail. PIVC failure is costly for both the patient and healthcare organisation. Failure may require the child to undergo traumatic reinsertion procedures, delay important medical treatment and prolong length of hospital stay. One way to reduce PIVC failure is with effective PIVC dressing and securement, by ensuring correct catheter position in the vein.

Our trial aims to test if new advances in catheter securement, medical grade superglue (Histoacryl) and an integrated dressing securement product (SorbaView SHIELD), are effective at preventing cannula failure and complications in paediatric patients. Using a three arm, randomised controlled trial, this study will recruit 460 paediatric patients at two regional emergency departments (Logan Hospital, Ipswich Hospital). Children will be randomised to receive PIVC securement by i) standard care, ii) advanced dressing or iii) medical grade superglue and advanced dressing. The main outcome of this trial is PIVC failure, with other important questions surrounding cost effectiveness and patient comfort also to be explored.

It is important for effective, improved cannula security to be explored as this is frequently a first line device choice for treatment, being highly effective in rapid treatment situations. A result in improved treatment delivery will benefit with cost savings in not only product but clinician time spent re-inserting, and a reduction in unnecessary, painful procedures for children.

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Valuing patients’ experience in the emergency department

Improving patient experiences is part of Queensland’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan to enable safe, quality healthcare services. Yet, current emergency department(ED) patient experience measures, including the burdensome 82-item Queensland Health (QH) ED patient experience survey, fail to reflect patient preferences for care experiences, inhibiting the design and evaluation of healthcare services that reflect patient preferences, and the delivery of value-based healthcare.

The aim of this project is to develop an ED patient experience classification system and accompanying scoring algorithm that can be used to both measure and value patient experiences in Queensland EDs. It will provide a proof of concept for an Australia-wide development, valuation and knowledge transfer study.

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Improving jellyfish sting treatment

EMF funding is improving emergency care for the elderly

Trauma: better treatment for severe bleeding

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