Pulmonary embolism (PE) refers to blood clots in the lung. They can cause sudden death, collapse, chest pain, shortness of breath yet sometimes they cause no symptoms at all and are discovered incidentally. As they can be severe, they have become regarded as a not-to-miss diagnosis. As they can present with a variety of symptoms, emergency clinicians consider the possibility of PE on a frequent basis.
When considering whether a patient has a PE, the clinician may confirm or exclude the diagnosis directly with definitive chest scans. However, these scans are time consuming, costly and have other side effects including exposure to radiation and to chemical contrast agents. When patients are assessed to be less likely of having a PE, it is often possible to safely exclude PE by applying a set of clinical decision rules or doing a blood test called a D-dimer. If the level of D-dimer is below a certain threshold, then PE can be excluded.
We aim to safely exclude PE without scans where possible. Evidence has been building that employing a higher D-dimer threshold is reasonable, yet uptake of this newer approach is limited. We hope to demonstrate that a higher threshold can work in Australia without compromising safety. This will be a large study that answers this question and if shown to be the case, then patient care can be improved while using less resources in busy emergency departments.READ MORE
Consumer engagement in research is a local, national and international priority and has been described as research being carried out ‘with’ or ‘by’ consumers, rather than ‘to’, ‘about’ or ‘for’ them. Our recent scoping review on patient and public involvement in international emergency care research (under review) found only two (of the 28) studies were undertaken in Australia and reported consumer engagement in Emergency department (ED) research, illustrating that the vision of integrated consumer and community engagement in research is a long way from the current reality.
Consumer engagement can improve the quality and relevance of research, identify unmet needs, reduce wasted research efforts, and improve ED services and patient experiences, particularly for vulnerable and high-risk patient groups. Whilst there has been an increase in consumer engagement in international research, opportunities for consumers to contribute to emergency care research in Australia are scarce and there are very few documented studies of consumer engagement in ED research.
This project aims to understand the current challenges and barriers to consumer engagement being undertaken in ED research, both in Queensland and nationally in Australia. The project will also identify readiness for consumer engagement, exploring the factors which influence, drive and support researchers to engage consumers in ED research. In addition, it will also scope the potential for a statewide / National Emergency collaborative network for Consumer Engagement and assess support among key stakeholders in emergency care in Queensland and nationally.READ MORE
The emergency department (ED) is a stressful workplace. The stressful work environment has resulted in high levels of psychological distress with some using mal-adaptive coping strategies. High staff turnover is evident in some EDs. To guide the development of strategies for clinicians, health services, policy makers, and emergency colleges, this research will provide a national picture regarding the impact of stressors on health and performance.
The well-being of staff is a priority for Emergency Medicine and Nursing colleges in Australia. Research reports have emerged highlighting concerns with post-traumatic stress, sleeping problems, cardiovascular disease and increasing rates of suicide among healthcare staff. This research is critical to address such concerning trends.
This multi-disciplinary research collaborative is new, consisting of expert clinical and academic leaders from emergency nursing and medicine coming together to provide a robust approach to understand, from a national perspective, where opportunities exist to enhance clinician wellbeing and the effectiveness of local, state, or national practice or policy measures, through the longitudinal design.
This research will provide a comprehensive Queensland, as well as a national understanding of the impact of stressors on the health and performance of ED staff. When applied longitudinally, the questionnaire can be used to evaluate the outcomes of interventions and policies that seek to promote positive coping strategies for ED clinicians.READ MORE
Shock is an umbrella description for poor blood supply to vital organs, and can lead to multi-organ failure and death. Emergency department (ED) patients with shock are amongst the sickest, with 1/3 being admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). Low blood pressure, a key feature of shock which causes the poor blood supply to vital organs, can be treated with medications called vasopressors. Vasopressors traditionally have been given through a so-called 'central line'. Central lines are invasive to insert and require skill, and the actual insertion can lead to complications. More evidence has emerged that so-called peripheral lines (aka 'drip') are safe for vasopressor infusion. Randomised controlled trials (RCT) to compare the two strategies will provide high quality data to inform clinicians as to which approach is best for patients, staff and the healthcare budget. We propose a feasibility RCT to test processes and inform a large phase-III RCT to definitively answer this question.READ MORE
Peripheral intravenous catheters (PIVCs) are small plastic tubes placed in a patient’s vein for the delivery of intravenous fluid and medications. In the emergency department, many patients present with difficult intravenous access and require multiple insertion attempts to successfully place a PIVC. This can be time consuming for clinical staff, costly for hospitals, and painful for patients. Correct device selection is a key strategy to ensure first-time insertion success.
This study will recruit 406 adult participants at two emergency departments in order to test if novel PIVCs with a retractable guidewire (AccuCath Ace™ Intravascular Cannula, BD), compared to standard care, are effective at increasing first-time insertion success for patients with difficult vascular access.READ MORE
Providing equitable and appropriate care to populations with cultural and linguistic diversity (CALD) can be a challenge for Emergency Department (ED) providers.
This qualitative study aims to explore cultural and linguistic diversity in the ED, to inform evidence-based strategies to support patients from CALD backgrounds and guide subsequent research directions.
Researchers will consider individual patients, and their affiliation to people, organisations, their community and culture to explore barriers and facilitators to care delivery from the perspective of clinicians (doctors and nurses) and patients from CALD backgrounds.
The study involves collaboration with health and community partners, and a research team largely from CALD backgrounds whose language skill set will be utilised in a novel way (i.e. with translating information forms and supporting patient interviews).
The project is co-funded by a grant from the Gold Coast Health Collaborative Research Grant Scheme. Gold Coast Health is funding the quantitative arm of the study describing ED use by patients from CALD backgrounds.READ MORE
Cellulitis is an infection of the skin and underlying soft tissues and leads to redness, pain and sometimes fever. Once diagnosed, the emergency doctor needs to decide an appropriate type and dose of antibiotic and decide to give it orally (tables/capsules) or intravenously (via a drip).
Despite this being a common diagnosis in the ED, guidelines are not based on high-quality evidence making it difficult for doctors to make evidence-based choices and there is wide variation in how cellulitis is treated. This prospective cohort management study aims to describe the ED management and clinical outcomes of adult patients with cellulitis.READ MORE
In 2018, there were 3046 deaths by suicide in Australia. Suicide was the leading cause of death among people age 15-44 in 2016-2018. In Queensland, rates remain highest in young men, particularly in rural areas.
The emergency department (ED) can be the only option for people in a mental health crisis. Presentations with self-harm and attempted suicide are recognised high-risk events for subsequent suicide.
This data-linkage study is the first of its kind in Queensland, examining ED presentations with self-harm between 2012 and 2017, utilising data from a collaboration examining broader mental health presentations. This ED data will be ‘linked’ to inpatient admissions and death records, allowing insight into the patient journey over several years.
Aligning with national and international calls to make suicide and self-harm a priority for research and policy innovation, the study will examine the demographics, co-morbidities and characteristics of these patients, and factors predictive of hospital admission to improve care and recognition around those presenting to ED with self-harm.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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.READ MORE