Thursday, 26 November 2015

Aus-ROC researchers win a Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant and top gong

SPHPM’s Australian Resuscitations Outcome Consortium (Aus-ROC) researchers Dr Janet Bray (pictured), Dr Lahn Straney, Associate Professor Karen Smith and Professor Judith Finn have been awarded a $75,000 Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant to develop community-based cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) education programs.

Their application to the Heart Foundation also won them the Ross Hohnen Award for Research Excellence for the most outstanding and innovative Vanguard Grant application, providing an extra $10,000 on top of the grant.

The grant will be used to understand why bystander CPR rates are low in specific regions of Victoria, Such information will be used to inform the design and development of an intervention which the researchers hope to conduct and evaluate with future funding.

This project extends the work conducted under the Aus-ROC RECOVER project which aimed to understand regional variation in Victoria survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Studies from RECOVER found marked variation across local government areas in rates of bystander CPR – a factor vital to survival from this deadly event.

In Australia, as many as 20,000 OHCA occur every year, with less than 10 per cent surviving. The delivery of CPR by persons witnessing or finding someone in cardiac arrest more than doubles the chance of survival. However, recent Australian data suggests only 40 per cent of adult OHCA patients receive bystander CPR, even though CPR instructions are provided during the emergency call to ambulance.

“It is now thought that targeting CPR education to areas with low bystander CPR and high incidence of OHCA is not only a better use of resources, but mostly likely to improve rates of survival,” Dr Bray said. 

However, before such interventions can take place, Australian data is required to understand why bystander CPR rates are low, why this regional variation is occurring and to identify possible barriers to the residents of these local government areas performing bystander CPR and participating in training.

To achieve this Aus-ROC researchers will carry out three separate studies including: a cross-sectional telephone survey, an analysis of emergency calls for OHCA in high-risk areas and focus groups to understand local barriers to performing bystander CPR. 

“These studies can now be conducted thanks to the Vanguard Grant, providing valuable insight into this problem and  hopefully tell us what we need to focus on in these 'high-risk' areas,” Dr Bray said.

“The work of the Aus-ROC team has a far-reaching effect for the whole community – they make a big contribution to public health practice and innovation making them well and truly worthy of this recent grant. I congratulate you all on behalf of the School,” said Professor John McNeil, Head of SPHPM.

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