Results for Queensland


Prospective Observational study of cannulation of Kids in the Emergency (POKIE)

Paediatric peripheral intravenous cannula (PIVC) insertion is a frequently performed procedure in the emergency department (ED), which can result in significant distress for both the child and caregiver, particularly when there are multiple attempts. Children with difficult intravenous access (DIVA) are generally poorly recognised but several studies have developed prediction tools. Furthermore, the use of ultrasound (US) has been demonstrated to improve the success rate of paediatric DIVA patients when used as an adjunct.

This research will shine a spotlight on current practice in the largest mixed ED in Queensland, which aims to determine factors contributing to paediatric DIVA patients and attitudes towards the use of US to assist first pass success. Furthermore, this background data will lay the foundation to inform an interventional trial using US to improve PIVC practices for children in the ED. Novice researchers in this project will be well supported by a research team with a strong track record of completing projects that can impact patient care

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ED diabetic ketoacidosis presentations in people with type 1 diabetes: a pilot to improve clinical and public health system outcomes

People with type 1 diabetes (T1D) require ongoing insulin administration. Insufficient administration results in hyperglycaemia and then diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) which, if not treated urgently, can lead to death. It is vital that all people with T1D have timely access to acute care advice and service delivery.

Across Australia, DKA is the cause of a significant and increasing number of hospitalisations, especially when considering socioeconomic disadvantage. This project will explore current outcomes for people with T1D presenting to the Caboolture Hospital ED with DKA, explore factors associated with poor outcomes, and describe current barriers and enablers; to inform intervention development. Local diabetes support is provided through a diabetes education service which does not provide after-hours telephone support to provide timely assistance and determine the requirement for (and potentially preventing if unnecessary) hospital presentations.

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An evaluative study of a collaborative ED mental health program

Mental health is a nationally recognised priority area and significantly contributes to the burden of illness in the Australian community, with almost 50% of people aged over 16 experiencing a mental illness at some point in their life. Coordinating treatment and support for people with mental illness is a key priority area in the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and is a key priority indicator.

Over the last decade several models of mental health service delivery have evolved in response to the need for specialised mental health assessment and care in EDs as client numbers and acuity increases. Research has shown that these models are effective at supporting staff and increasing consumer satisfaction. However, little is known about how well the services integrate into ED service delivery and the way in which these MH services augment ED care and processes or their cost. Nor is there any research that summarises the salient features of the various models in a way that health services may integrate them to improve service delivery.

This research project is in two parts. The first phase aims to describe and explore the structures and processes required to sustain an ED physician championed. By understanding the structure and process required and through identifying its salient features, it may allow health services to implement the model or redesign, or adapt, current practice to improve the care received by patients presenting to EDs with a mental illness. The second phase will involve three quantitative studies that will examine the performance of the model.

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Patterns of prescription opioid use following ED presentation for minor road traffic crash injury

Australia is five years behind the US’ opioid epidemic (>15,000 US deaths/year). General Practitioners and EDs frequently prescribe opioids for isolated musculoskeletal pain (e.g. “whiplash”) from RTCs, but this potentially inappropriate opioid prescribing likely leads to unnecessary opioid exposures. In the last decade, opioid overdoses in Australia have more than doubled. 75% of opioid overdose deaths involve prescription opioids; annual death rates exceed road traffic deaths.

Emergency Departments (EDs) commonly prescribe opioids on discharge for patients with non-serious road traffic crash (RTC) injury. This potentially compromises recovery and contributes to continued opioid use and potential misuse in the community.

The project will address the gap on whether, or for how long, short courses of opioids are continued following acute non-serious RTC injury, and to what extent this causes subsequent problems, by measuring patterns of use, impacts, and costs of opioid use in EDs and following discharge over a 12-month period.

The project will provide the first Australian data on opioid prescribing in ED for acute minor RTC injuries and link ED data to community data to explore longitudinal prescribing patterns post RTC.

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Coronary Artery Disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die from heart attacks at younger ages than non-indigenous Australians. The factors that increase risk of death from heart attack in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are unknown.

Most patients who present to an Emergency Department (ED) with chest pain do not have a heart problem but all are assessed for their risk of having a life-threatening cause, such as heart attack. The level of risk determines which tests are performed so that a final diagnosis can be obtained as quickly as possible. Due to the lack of knowledge about risk factors in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population there is uncertainty about how best to use chest pain risk assessments in indigenous patients.

In this study, we will determine the rate of coronary artery disease (a hardening of arteries and the underlying cause of heart attacks) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who present to the ED with chest pain. We will also compare the characteristics of patients who do and do not have heart attacks to identify potential risk factors for heart attack in this population.

The findings from this study will: 1) allow ED doctors to determine a baseline level of risk of heart attack for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient population, and 2) provide preliminary information necessary for the design of large-scale research studies with the goal of determining specific risk factors for heart attack in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Better ways of pain management in adults with hip fractures

Hip fractures are extremely painful yet medications which are usually used to manage the pain can have significant complications, particularly in frail individuals. Numbing medications injected into the groin on the side of the hip fracture have been shown to decrease pain, confusion and chest infections in patients with hip fracture awaiting an operation.

It is usual for most patients presenting to emergency departments with a hip fracture to get a single injection of numbing medication. What isn’t known is whether multiple regular doses of numbing medications injected regularly via a plastic tube in the groin are more effective than a single injection in managing the pain of hip fractures.
The purpose of this study is to show multiple regular doses of numbing medications are better than a single injection. This will be achieved by examining the difference in the amount of pain, the quantity of pain medications, and the degree of confusion between the patients getting multiple doses and those getting a single injection.

This study will be the first of its kind to be done in an emergency department and is also unique in that it will involve patients with dementia who make up more than a third of patients with hip fracture and are usually excluded from studies. The study is expected to help manage the pain of the 1.6 million hip fracture patients worldwide and give emergency doctors an additional option of managing hip fracture pain.

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Using bedside ultrasound to diagnose forearm fractures in children

This is a multicentre, open-labelled diagnostic randomised controlled trial to comparing the use of portable ultrasound and x-ray imaging to diagnose a buckle fracture in children. The trial will determine if there are differences in functional outcomes, patient and care-giver preferences, and health system benefits.

Children frequently present to the emergency department with forearm injuries and often have an x-ray to assess if there is a fracture. Due to the soft and plastic nature of the bones in young children, injuries can cause their bones to bend, known as a buckle fracture. Bedside ultrasound is a test that emergency practitioners can use to rapidly diagnose a fracture at the time of examination, without exposing children to ionising radiation. Ultrasound in this setting is well tolerated, only requiring light touch and gentle manipulation of the forearm and has similar accuracy when compared with x-rays for diagnosing children’s forearm fractures.

This is the first trial of its kind to assess whether an x-ray is unnecessary when there is either a buckle fracture or no fracture seen on a portable ultrasound machine. This is important as they can be treated at the time of review without any further delay, which will avoid these children being exposed to ionising radiation. Children will be randomised to receive either an ultrasound or x-ray for their forearm injury. Both groups will be followed up to see whether there are any differences in their recovery and to determine any complications. We will also determine the time and cost implications of this new approach, which could enable families to go home earlier and could be more cost-effective, with less x-rays being ordered.

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Understanding end-of-life care for older people presenting to the ED

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.

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Providing a safe and efficient method of chest pain assessment

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.

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Reaction of Emergency Services uPON Disasters in Queensland

From a health perspective, a disaster overwhelms the normal operating capacity of a health service, where an outside health response is required to restore and maintain the normal day-to-day health services and standards of care for the disaster-affected community. The Australian healthcare system is tested annually with disasters of a conventional nature (e.g., floods, cyclones, bushfires), however, the Australian healthcare system has not been recently tested by non-conventional disasters such as Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and explosive (CBRNe) disasters. As a result, the ability to determine the healthcare system response is difficult. Further, there is no research specific to the Australian emergency department’s capacity for disaster response in CBRNe events.

This study addresses this gap. We will use a mixed methods approach to undertake two discrete, yet related studies. Study 1 involves undertaking surveys with key emergency disaster personnel from seven Queensland hospitals to describe the capacity of hospital emergency care services ability to respond following a CBRNe disaster. Study 2 includes undertaking focus groups with key clinicians and leaders from the participating sites to identify and explore enablers and barriers within emergency care services to provide CBRNe disaster response. Findings from these studies will provide an evidence base regarding the capacity for several Queensland emergency departments, located in metropolitan, regional and rural settings, to respond to disasters.

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research projects

Improving jellyfish sting treatment

EMF funding is improving emergency care for the elderly

Trauma: better treatment for severe bleeding

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