We propose to conduct a multi-centre blinded cluster cross over randomised clinical trial (RCT) of plasmalyte (PL), a balanced salt solution versus normal saline (NS) in patients admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication of diabetes mellitus. DKA results in elevated acid levels in the blood leading to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
ICU admission rates for patients with DKA in Australia has risen annually. In 2019 and 2020, there were 2751 and 2812 admissions to ICUs respectively. Almost all patients present through the Emergency Departments and in regional hospitals, they are often admitted to the ICU.
NS is often used as the first line fluid for dehydration, but NS use frequently results in persistent acidosis. We have shown in a pilot trial, conducted in 7 Queensland regional Emergency departments and ICUs, that the use of a balanced salt solution such as PL resulted in a more rapid resolution of acidosis with trends to shorter length of ICU and hospital stay as compared to NS. The efficacy of PL in DKA needs evaluation in a large clinical trial.
We plan to study 480 patients from Australia of whom a third will be expected to be enrolled in Queensland. Patients will be randomised to receive either NS or PL and the primary end point is hospital length of stay. This proposed trial will answer a fundamental clinical question and will inform policy and practice in Australia and New Zealand and around the world.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
Major bleeding is a leading cause of death in trauma patients. Blood product replacement is a key component of damage control resuscitation aimed at limiting coagulopathy until definitive control of bleeding is achieved. Although Major Haemorrhage Protocols (MHP) are now widely used in the initial resuscitation of traumatically injured patients (1), protocols can vary based upon individual institutions' capabilities and processes.
Within Australia, the National Blood Authority 2011 Patient Blood Management Guideline Module 1: Critical Care/ Massive Transfusion (2) recommended institutions develop standardized MHP to guide clinicians regarding the dose, timing and ratio of blood component therapy for bleeding trauma patients. However, it is currently unknown if these guidelines are implemented and if so, what institutional variations occur. While the guidelines provide a robust review of the evidence base for MHP, there is little information about the logistics of MHP implementation.
Our project aims are firstly to compare the available trauma bleeding protocols across Queensland for content and quality. Secondly, we wish to understand the institution's capabilities of delivering an MHP in terms of the structure and processes available to them. Thirdly we want to explore the experiences of clinicians involved in delivering an MHP for trauma patients in both tertiary, rural and remote hospitals within Queensland.
Expected benefits are to identify potential disparity of care for trauma patients in terms of MHP content, availability of resources and access to blood products. This information can help guide improvements in education, blood products availability and cost-effective care across Queensland.READ MORE
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
The “Buddy Study” funded in the EMF grant round 25 showed a common type of hand fracture can be treated without a plaster – a finding that if applied broadly could result in patients returning to work faster and significant healthcare savings. However, since the study was published in 2019 it is unclear to what degree there has been a change in how clinicians actually treat this fracture.
This follow up study will explore factors related to research reach, adoption, and implementation at two hospitals in Queensland to 1) inform a strategy to implement knowledge related to hand fractures and to 2) explore how participation in research affects implementation.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
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
Sepsis is an emergency medical condition that is caused by an abnormal response of the body to the presence of harmful microorganisms in the blood. It can lead to injury of body organs, shock and loss of life. Every year, 11 million people worldwide die due to sepsis.
Despite advances in the treatment of infections, management strategies for sepsis remain suboptimal. Inadequate understanding of immune system response to severe infection is partly to blame. Patients present to hospital with different signs that may include having warm peripheries and low blood pressure (hyperdynamic shock). Critically ill patients with sepsis who present with these signs, commonly receive medications to support blood pressure (vasopressors) but it is unclear whether starting vasopressor early, will result in better patient response or outcomes.
This study will investigate whether starting early vasopressor is better compared to delayed initiation. As clinicians working in the emergency department and intensive care, researchers will be able use study findings to develop better ways of treating septic patients.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