COVID-19 has impacted healthcare provision in Australian emergency departments (EDs). Infection control precautions, including isolation of patients with respiratory symptoms and methodical use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), are of paramount importance to reduce the risk of transmission within the healthcare setting.
Patients presenting to Australian EDs with epidemiological or clinical features suggesting risk of COVID-19 illness are isolated into a physically separate, high risk-zone (HRZ) within the ED. Entry into HRZ is restricted to essential staff wearing appropriate personal PPE. Consequently, interactions between patients and clinicians, particularly allied health, are limited.
Mobile robotic telepresence (MRT) has the potential to maintain quality of care while facilitating contactless communication between patients and staff in the HRZ and the external multidisciplinary team. MRT is a wifi-enabled wheeled devices with audio-video capabilities controlled remotely by a clinician. This study aims to determine the feasibility of using MRT to support clinical care in the HRZ of the ED.READ MORE
In this project we will evaluate a new pathway for assessing chest pain in the emergency department. The pathway is designed to reduce the costs of managing patients at low-risk of heart attack without compromising patient safety. The cost savings are estimated to be around $95 million if implemented Australia-wide, with the bulk of the cost reduction being through decreased length of stay in the emergency department.
The new pathway will be implemented at three Queensland hospitals. Data collected before and after the implementation of this pathway will be used to assess 1) whether it results in a shorter length of stay in hospital, 2) whether it is safe for identifying heart attack, and 3) whether it reduces healthcare utilisation and healthcare costs.
Over 450,000 patients present to an Australian emergency department with chest pain every year. The current approach to rule out heart attack for these patients is lengthy and costly, taking up to 26 hours at a cost of $2,127 per patient.
The aim of this study was to determine whether 4% albumin solution is superior to saline for fluid resuscitation of patients presenting to the emergency department with septic shock.READ MORE
The primary aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of an intervention designed to improve the quality of blood cultures collected in a busy emergency department.
Blood cultures are tests that are frequently ordered by emergency doctors to detect and identify bacteria present in the blood of patients who are unwell. The test requires a sample of blood to be collected from the patient. Like many tests, the quality of the results is related to the quality of the sample collection process.
Several factors may influence the quality of sample collection and increase the chance of sample contamination. These include not collecting enough blood and poor sterility of the collection process. Contamination of blood cultures may result in the patient staying longer in hospital, being prescribed unnecessary antibiotics and increasing the costs of care.
This study will implement a rigorous intervention to reduce contamination rates in blood culture samples collected at the Emergency and Trauma Centre at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. The intervention comprises: education to staff that collect blood cultures; the introduction of blood culture collection kits; and regular feedback of quality indicators to the clinicians that collect blood cultures.
If the intervention is successful then a reduction in blood culture contamination rates and single sets of cultures should be seen. The average volume of blood cultured should increase. These outcomes should lead to a reduction in patients’ lengths of stay, costs of care, and positive effects in anti-microbial stewardship and patient flow.READ MORE
The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) Emergency and Trauma Centre (E&TC) is committed to research as a way to improve both patient outcomes and the delivery of emergency care services. With the support of competitive grants from funding bodies, the E&TC has rapidly established a reputation for high quality, medically-oriented clinical and health services research. Our capacity and support for such work has resulted in international collaborations, publications in leading journals and translation of findings into clinical practice with tangible benefits to both patients and health services. Despite these successes, several years ago we recognised that there were still barriers to participation in research by emergency nursing and allied health clinicians.
It was evident that dedicated senior research support was required, which prompted our Capacity Building application to EMF in 2015. The resulting conjoint senior nurse research role was first occupied in 2017 and, in less than 18 months, has energized nursing and allied health clinicians to define key research questions, collaborate across disciplines and institutions, apply for funding, design and conduct research studies, publish manuscripts, present at professional meetings, and enrol in research higher degrees.
In applying to extend the funding for the conjoint senior nurse research fellow to a third year we acknowledge the essential contribution this position makes to our research capacity and to the development of individual nursing and allied health staff into effective clinician-researchers. Together with the commitments already received from RBWH and Queensland University of Technology, a third year of EMF funding will enable the full expectations of this conjoint position to be realized, thereby maximising the likelihood of attracting future recurrent funding.READ MORE
In Australia, medication errors result in more than 400,000 visits to general practitioners per year, however the number of patients who present to hospital due to medication-related harm is unclear. Previous Australian and international research suggests that at least 2% of emergency department (ED) presentations are due to medication-related harm and up to one quarter of those patients require admission to hospital. Importantly, the majority of such presentations are potentially preventable, which means that interventions that target medication safety in the community and adverse events that result in ED presentations could improve patient safety and quality of life, and reduce the burden on emergency and acute health services. Before we can target strategies designed to reduce medication-related harm in the community that results in patients requiring care in the ED, we need to understand how commonly this occurs, and which patients are at higher risk of possible harm. In this study we will determine how common this problem is, the characteristics of the events and the patients in whom medication-related harm occurs, and also estimate the health service costs of medication-related ED presentations.READ MORE
Pain is a common symptom in ED patients, and is often the primary reason patients seek emergency medical attention. There are, however, growing public health concerns that opioid medications are being increasingly and excessively prescribed for pain. These medications may have a serious side effect profile including sedation, tolerance, and development of addiction, and may subsequently be diverted in the community for non-medical use.
A recent baseline audit of local prescribing records revealed oxycodone, an opioid pain medication, is prescribed in approximately 5% of patients discharged home from this ED (with an annual census of 77,500 presentations). Clinical documentation and discharge communication was either absent, incomplete, or inconsistent when discharge plans for dosing, duration of therapy, follow-up reviews and de-escalation of therapy were analysed.
The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention for discharge oxycodone prescribing relevant to Australian Emergency Departments. The principal aims are to decrease the amount of oxycodone prescribed, improve practitioner awareness of local opioid prescribing behaviour, and improve documentation around oxycodone use on discharge. This quality assurance evaluation study will measure the success of a multifaceted oxycodone prescribing intervention and its impact on oxycodone prescribing for patients discharged home from the Emergency Department (ED). The project is hypothesized to reduce oxycodone prescribing, improve discharge documentation, and ensure appropriate follow up plans are in place.READ MORE
Patients with infections are a leading cause of presentations to the Emergency Department (ED), with severe sepsis and infection causing an estimated 20,000 deaths each day across the world. Treatment is aimed at eradicating the infection and supporting the patient while recovery can take place. Frequently patients develop low blood pressure as a result of immune response that can ultimately result in further organ injury (termed septic shock). Intravenous fluids are recommended by international guidelines as the first line therapy in the ED to treat low blood pressure of sepsis with the hope of preventing organ injury and death. Despite 50 years of use in sepsis, the rationale for fluids remains based in theory rather than clear evidence it is effective in saving lives. Disconcertingly, there is now increasing evidence that fluids in sepsis are ineffective and may actually worsen patient survival. Despite this fluids continue to be recommended and used liberally in the ED resulting in conflict between our historical practice and the best evidence.
We have developed an animal model of septic shock and resuscitation in order to test the effectiveness of fluid resuscitation. This will allow us to both understand the true effect but also investigate the underlying physiological mechanisms of any harms.READ MORE
The aim of this study is to assess the performance characteristics of the modified Sgarbossa criteria for diagnosis of ACO in VPR. This is a multi-centre international trial. The number of patients presenting to our Emergency Departments with pacemakers continues to increase. Investigating whether such patients are having a heart attack is challenging. For patients without pacemakers, ECG criteria can be used to identify a subset of patients who are having a heart attack. However, for patients with pacemakers, there are no accurate electrocardiograph (ECG) criteria to diagnose heart attacks.
This research has the potential to identify AMI in patients with VPR and improve Emergency Medical care in a time critical management decision. As such, it will develop emergency medicine research in Queensland and internationally by improving patients care and outcomes. It also will develop education and knowledge that will be recognised worldwide.
Smith et al have derived criteria (modified Sgarbossa’s criteria) for diagnosing heart attack using ECG characteristics in patients with a known abnormal ECG trace. This study will assess the accuracy of the Sgarbossa’s criteria in patients with pacemakers. We will collect data on demographics and ECG criteria for patients with pacemakers who present to the Emergency Department at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital with potential heart attack. We will then examine the results from the patient’s angiogram. The data will combined with data from multiple sites around the world to help validate ECG criteria for diagnosing heart attack in patients with pacemakers.READ MORE
This study aims to improve our understanding of sepsis in Australian Emergency Departments. We will do this by analysing in great detail the spectrum of infection syndromes presenting to the Emergency Department of a typical large Australian hospital over a period of several years. This will allow us to:
1) Identify the number of patients presenting to hospitals each year with severe infections and the outcome of these presentations.
2) Analyse the factors and information available to doctors in the Emergency Department that are associated with overall prognosis in patients with infection.
3) Build a comprehensive picture of the spectrum of infective agents that cause patients to be admitted to Australian hospitals.
4) Identify the most appropriate combination of antibiotics which should be used in the early treatment of the most severely ill patients with infection.
The cornerstone of this project is a large database which will capture detailed information on all patients presenting to the Emergency Department of a typical large Australian hospital who are subsequently admitted with infection.READ MORE