Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a significant burden to Queensland emergency departments (EDs) in adults and children. Between 2019-2020, there were 958 presentations of isolated mTBI to Gold Coast Hospital Health Service EDs, of these 73% presented outside of usual business hours and 26% re-presented within 3 weeks of their initial presentation, complaining of persistent symptoms.
The Occupational Therapy (OT) Outpatient Service identified an innovative medical substitution practice model involving specialist follow up for patients to facilitate recovery, link into appropriate specialty referrals where indicated, and prevent ED representations. It is anticipated that the implementation of the OT pathway will lead to enhanced clinical outcomes (including quality of life and return to work/school), decreased ED length of stay for monitoring of symptoms and decreased ED readmission.
The primary aim of this research is to evaluate the impact of this Occupational Therapy (OT) intervention pathway for patients presenting to ED with a mTBI outside of business hours compared to pre-implementation care. The study also aims to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the pathway in relation to adherence, patient and staff acceptability and satisfaction.READ MORE
Emergency department teams need to perform urgent and high stakes patient care. This requires individual expertise and effective teamwork underpinned by trust, respect and shared values.
Psychological safety is a “shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking”. The factors affecting the development of psychological safety in emergency department teams are not well understood and we aim to explore this within the emergency departments at Gold Coast Health.
Learning more about how to develop psychological safety in teams will inform team training strategies, including but not limited to simulation-based training, and subsequently better care for patients presenting to emergency departments where high performing teams are critical.READ MORE
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.
Procedural sedation in emergency departments is performed on a daily basis. The current management plan arguably inflicts unnecessary pain and distress on children. This open label, multicenter, randomised control trial is investigating whether paediatric procedural sedation can be achieved with just one needle. The research team’s focus is the on determining the best outcome for the child in procedural sedation, prioritising psychological as well as medical consequences.READ MORE
The question of fluid volume in resuscitation has been identified as the top priority in sepsis research by emergency physicians in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Guidelines and sepsis pathways recommend an initial intravenous (IV) fluid bolus of 30ml/kg isotonic crystalloid for patients with sepsis and hypotension. However, there is a lack of evidence from clinical trials to support this strategy. Both observational data as well as randomised studies suggest there may be harm associated with injudicious use of fluids in sepsis. Since there is equipoise regarding a more liberal or restricted fluid volume resuscitation as first line treatment for sepsis-related hypotension, we conducted the pilot multicentre REstricted Fluid REsuscitation in Sepsis-associated Hypotension (REFRESH) trial comparing a restricted fluid protocol with early initiation of vasopressor support against standard guideline care.
The data from REFRESH will inform feasibility of a large, multicentre phase III study. However, further ground work is essential for the optimal design of a Phase III trial that will provide valuable information on feasibility (road test recruitment rate and screening processes) as well as refinement of the protocol (sample size estimation, processes of care, prevalence of the population of interest, real world clinical practice regarding fluid use).
In this ARISE Fluids study, we aim to provide more insight into current practice by conducting a bi-national multi-site prospective observational study of fluid administration in (suspected) sepsis and hypotension in the Emergency Departments of Australia and New Zealand hospitals. Sites have been selected on the basis of having expressed interest in participating in a phase III trial.READ MORE
Queensland is known for its ability to attract mass gathering events of international significance, such as the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2032 Olympic Games. Such events have the potential to impact the normal operational capacity of our emergency health services.
The objective of this study is to describe the impact of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the emergency departments in the Gold Coast region. This research has two key aims, which align with two discrete but related studies:
Study 1 Aim: To describe and determine whether changes in patient, health service, and economic outcomes occur before, during and after the Commonwealth Games.
Study 2 Aim: To explore healthcare staff experience of planning, preparedness and lessons learnt from the Commonwealth Games.
This study will collect information from the records of 3000 children from 30 hospitals presenting after a head injury in 2016 and will interview staff to look at different factors influencing the care provided. APHIRST-Gap is expected to provide crucial information on scan rates and inform strategies, including national guideline development to standardise and improve the care of children with head injury across Australia and New Zealand.
Head injury is a common reason children present to Emergency Departments in Australia and New Zealand. While most are minor the important issue for emergency clinicians is to determine whether a particular child is at risk of a serious head injury such as a bleed on the brain. A computerised tomography(CT) scan is the investigation of choice to look for these injuries. Its presents risks though, including the risk of sedation, and radiation induced cancer.
Several “rules” have been designed to guide doctors in the decision, by weighing up the risk of injury with the risks associated with the scan. The published Australasian APHIRST study examined three of these rules. It found that all three rules performed well, clinicians made sound judgements, and the overall rate of CT scan use was low (10%). APHIRST was limited to 10 large metropolitan, and predominately paediatric hospitals. Most children in Australia are not seen in these hospitals. Further research is required to determine whether there is a large variation in scan use between different hospitals and how best to apply these findings to a broader range of hospitals.
This trial is being run by the PREDICT network and the Principal Investigator is Prof Franz Babl.READ MORE
Most children with asthma presenting to an emergency department (ED) are managed with inhaled medications and oral steroids. Infrequently, those children that are very unwell may require assistance with their breathing, or intravenous medication. Currently, there is minimal information to guide clinicians on which treatment to choose for severe acute asthma. It is not known which is most effective and all have side-effects. Studies demonstrate significant variation in practice, while existing Australasian data is approximately 10 years old.
This project aims to determine current management practices for children with severe acute asthma and/or wheeze; how common the condition is, how frequently complications occur; and to understand differences in therapy between states and regions across Australia and New Zealand. When comparing treatments, it is important to determine the ability to reduce the risk of severe complications, or the difference in treatment outcomes. Once complete, this project will inform future research that will help to establish the best treatments for severe asthma.
This study is being run by the PREDICT network and its Chief Investigator is A/Prof Simon Craig. The EMF is funding Queensland sites taking part. The overall study will include 18,000 children aged between 1 and 18 years being treated for asthma in the ED.READ MORE
Domestic and family violence (DFV) against women is the number one cause of hospitalisations in Australian girls and women aged 15-54 years. It is also the number one cause of death and disability in women aged 15 to 44. Although most victims of fatal DFV access health services in the 24 months prior to their deaths, many victims living with DFV go unnoticed in the community. Health care providers are well placed to identify DFV victims and refer them to appropriate services. The ED has been described as a good place to undertake identification of DFV victims in several published research papers. Yet, how to do this remains controversial, and there are no standard protocols in place in our EDs. In this project, we aim to describe the current DFV health practice culture in five Queensland EDs. Knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes, as well as what’s actually happening to detect cases of DFV, will be assessed among our front-line ED social workers, nurses, and doctors. We aim to determine how many presentations to ED are identified and referred to social worker services for DFV. Ultimately, this research will both raise awareness about the potential of the ED to detect DFV, and will help pave the way forward to a well-informed and structured ED DFV screening program for Queensland, with applicability internationally.READ MORE
Fractures of the metacarpal bones are the most common hand injuries. Fractures through the neck of the 5th metacarpal (little finger hand bone) account for the majority of these. They are known as Boxer’s Fractures, as they are often sustained during a punch. Boxer’s fractures are traditionally managed in plaster, but in recent years there has been some suggestion that to simply ‘tape’ the little and ring fingers together will allow similar recovery with the advantage of full mobilisation. Currently there is not enough evidence to recommend one treatment over another. Potential benefits of buddy taping include: earlier return to work, less time spent in emergency, simple community follow up at the patient’s discretion. There is an economic benefit for the patient (they don’t miss work through being in a cast) and for the hospital (less time in ED and no need for orthopaedic follow up).
Our study is randomised and prospective. We enrol patients in the EDs of Robina and Gold Coast University Hospitals and randomise the patient to either receive a cast or buddy strapping. The patients are followed up in the orthopaedic fracture clinic at 1, 3 and 6 weeks, with phone follow up at 12 weeks. We are measuring hand function (using the quickDASH score of function), pain, satisfaction, economic analysis of return to work and sports, as well as objective strength and movement in the affected hand.
The study will improve the way that we manage a common injury. Patients who previously had to attend multiple busy outpatient clinics will potentially follow up with their GP at their discretion. Where patients would previously have spent 4 weeks in a cast, if buddy taping is effective, they can return to work immediately. This will result in time and resources saved in both the ED (assessment and application of plaster) as well as in orthopaedic outpatients (fewer follow up appointments and no need to replace plasters). Our aim is to optimise the care of our patients in a busy and time-pressured environment, and if the functional outcome is the same in both arms, we can choose the arm that most benefits the long-term economic, and social outcomes.READ MORE