Older patients with minor head injury routinely get a head scan in emergency departments due to the risk of a brain bleed. Recent studies have suggested that some of these patients may not need a head scan. However, doctors do not currently have an accurate method to identify those patients who do not need a scan.
This research aims to identify a subgroup of older patients with minor head injury who do not have a brain bleed and can be safely managed without a head scan. As there are no known Australian studies in this area, this innovative project addresses a common problem in a vulnerable group of patients with several potential benefits.
The study will inform emergency doctors about the feasibility of larger Australian studies to develop a reliable and accurate method to identify older patients who do not have a brain bleed and do not need a head scan. Such a method could benefit patients by reducing transfer from rural and remote communities to bigger hospitals for a head scan, reducing waiting times in emergency departments and reducing exposure to radiation. Such a method could also have significant cost savings to the Australian healthcare system by reducing costs associated with patient transfers, head scans and prolonged emergency department wait times.READ MORE
Queensland’s dispersed population poses significant challenges to emergency trauma system design, requiring both road and aeromedical retrieval services, trauma outreach services and specialist transfer protocols for time critical injuries to maximise survival.
Road trauma is one of the main mechanisms causing traumatic brain injury (TBI). Pinpointing geographic regions with significant disadvantage for timely access to neurosurgical services is needed for targeting education, treatment and outreach services to Queensland regions most in need.
The Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation Accessibility Queensland Index (iTRAQI) is a tool being developed by this team, and piloted for TBI. iTRAQI maps aeromedical/road transport access routes and uses travel time to acute neurosurgical and rehabilitation services to rank accessibility among Queensland localities under realistic scenarios.
This project will map actual pathways to definitive neurosurgical care for moderate-to-severe road trauma-related TBI and compare them to modelled iTRAQI pathways using linked prehospital, emergency, hospitalisation and compensation data.READ MORE
Falls in the elderly community-dwelling population are a common presentation to Australian Emergency Departments (ED). The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported an estimated 125,000 people aged 65+ were hospitalised due to falls in 2016/17. Fallers presenting to the ED that are elderly and frail, may then be discharged directly home.
The Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) has been widely used and is associated with mortality, comorbidity, increased length of stay and falls (Church 2020). Despite its expansive utilisation, no studies have assessed the correlation of CFS scores with re-presentation to the ED following a fall.
Improving the ability to identify patients who are at risk of re-presenting with falls could aid in focusing physiotherapy and allied health resources towards these patients during their initial ED presentation.READ MORE
Stroke is a leading cause of death and one of the most common causes of disability in Australia. For ischaemic strokes occurring secondary to a large vessel occlusion (LVO), mechanical thrombectomy is an effective intervention, with the outcome largely dependent on time to thrombectomy.
This study will analyse the assessment, management, and clinical outcomes of patients presenting to the ED with acute stroke, with a particular focus of those undergoing mechanical thrombectomy. Researchers aim to determine variability of workflow and decision-making processes that may occur after-hours. Based on current literature, variability may have a corresponding deleterious effect on patient outcomes.
By reviewing workflow processes and identifying relevant time barriers in a Queensland Comprehensive Stroke Centre, researchers aim to inform the future design and implementation of “Code Stroke” clinical pathways in Queensland.READ MORE
Healthcare in general and Emergency Departments (ED) in particular are stressful environments associated with excessive work demands, long hours and often limited support.
These pressures are compounded by staff shortages, fiscal constraints and increased ED presentations and patient acuity. Against this background where resources are so stretched, the COVID-19 pandemic poses intense and prolonged pressure.
The cumulative impact of chronic stress adversely affects the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of ED staff, leading to burn-out and to difficulties with staff recruitment and retention, decreased morale and job satisfaction.
Promoting staff wellness may enhance their ability to cope with occupational stress through support systems, development of resilience and building social connection. However engaging staff who are chronically stressed is a challenge.
It has never been timelier to identify effective evidenced based strategies that promote wellness and can be rigorously evaluated for the ED context. This project aims to qualitatively assess ED staff perceptions of Workplace Wellbeing activities, their views on measures to improve engagement, and perceptions of how to improve staff engagement with these interventions, especially in the context of chronic workplace stress.READ MORE
Each year 40,000 Australians suffer a stroke, most of which arise from interruptions in the blood supply to the brain. Treatments for stroke focus on restoring the brain’s blood supply to limit the number of brain cells which die. Patients who suffer stroke due to a blockage of the arteries supplying the brain (LVO-stroke), benefit from surgical restoration of the blood supply (known as endovascular clot retrieval, ECR), but this is only effective if performed within 24 hours of stroke onset.
Rapid detection of patients with LVO-stroke is key, however many unrelated conditions can mimic stroke symptoms. Patients suspected of suffering a stroke therefore require intensive examination and brain scans to confirm diagnosis before treatment can begin. This delays care provision, particularly for patients in regional areas who must travel to access specialist equipment. Furthermore, the sensitivity of brain scans during the early stages of stroke is poor, increasing the potential for misdiagnosis.
Researchers propose developing a blood test to rapidly screen patients for stroke. Previous research identified 11 new markers in the blood of stroke patients, suggesting diagnostic potential. In this study, researchers we will screen blood samples collected from patients with LVO-stroke to discover markers specifically associated with ECR requirement. The study will also compare the diagnostic performance of identified markers to the screening tool currently used by emergency teams to assess clinical usefulness.READ MORE
Communities of practice (CoP) are widely used to strengthen and enhance healthcare, by generating and sharing knowledge and improving organisational performance. In Australia CoPs have been used in fields such as healthcare improvement, mental health and mental health literacy, and workplace health and wellbeing and more recently in response to COVID 19.
This project will assess the possible scope for a CoP, and the extent to which a CoP might find support among collaborating service organisations, to focus attention on issues surrounding emergency mental health presentations to hospital emergency departments (EDs) in north Queensland.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
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 current assessment for emergency department (ED) patients with chest pain focuses on the short-term risk of heart attack, to differentiate low risk patients from those at high risk and requiring further treatment. This has been shown to be safe and effective for non-Indigenous patients, however, deaths from heart attack in Indigenous Australians occur, on average, at younger ages than non-Indigenous Australians.
Due to the high lifetime prevalence of heart attack in Indigenous Australians, ED investigations that focus on both short- and long-term risks may improve outcomes. Understanding rates of, and the types of patients who have coronary artery disease in this cohort would provide additional information about who requires further testing.
The aim of this study is to measure the rate of coronary artery disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who present to the ED with chest pain. By identifying how many Indigenous patients with chest pain in the ED have coronary artery disease, researchers aim to establish foundational knowledge to develop a heart attack risk assessment that is specific to Indigenous patients.READ MORE