Friday, 3 July 2015

2015 SPHPM 3 Minute Thesis Competition Winner

SPHPM 3MT competitors Dhanya Nambiar, Susie Cartledge & Jessica Harding
Susie Cartledge was crowned the winner of the recent SPHPM Annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, which sees competitors given a mere three minutes to explain their research to the gathered crowd.

Susie is a Registered Nurse and PhD Candidate with the
Australian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (Aus-ROC). Her PhD research looks at the significant public health problem of out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

Cardiac arrest is a life threatening condition in which the heart suddenly stops resulting, in a lack of blood flow and oxygen to vital organs.  Survival is dependent on bystanders promptly performing a sequence of events known as basic life support (BLS), which involves recognising the condition, calling for help and commencing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Unfortunately BLS is not implemented immediately or competently for every case and bystander CPR rates in OHCA are low, rarely exceeding 20%.  It has been demonstrated that up to 75% of OHCA occur in the home and are witnessed by an older family member, who is unlikely to have had recent, if any prior BLS training.

Ms Cartledge said it may therefore be more logical and cost effective to target BLS training to specific populations at high-risk of OHCA. 

“My PhD aims to address this gap and determine the feasibility of training high-risk cardiac patients and their family members in BLS,” Ms Cartledge said.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia and the primary cause of OHCA. Patients suffering from heart disease are also at high-risk of repeat events.  Therefore, family members of these high-risk patients are a group that could benefit from BLS training. 

“Targeted BLS training has long been advocated for high-risk cardiac patients and their family members, but there is currently no Australian data to inform this decision making process. 
“In addition to this, the recent changes to BLS algorithms and CPR guidelines mean previous research studies are now outdated,” Ms Cartledge said.

For her research, Ms Cartledge commenced by undertaking a systematic review of the literature followed by three discrete but related studies: firstly exploring what training is currently taking place in cardiac rehabilitation programs; secondly looking at the attitudes and beliefs regarding training of these patients and their family members; and finally she will undertake a feasibility study to examine if this high-risk group are willing and able to learn these skills in a cardiac rehabilitation setting.  

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