Friday, 9 September 2016

Double grant success for Aus-ROC researchers

Dr Rosalind Case and Dr Ben Beck, both Research Fellows with the Australian Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (Aus-ROC) at SPHPM were recently independently awarded Australian Resuscitation Council (Victorian Branch) Research Grants.

This grant scheme has been established by the Victorian Branch of the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) to facilitate research in resuscitation or first aid practice in Australia.

Dr Case is a clinical psychologist and her project will focus on improving outcomes in cardiac arrest survivors by assessing their psychological needs following cardiac arrest.

“Preliminary evidence suggests that up to 50 per cent of cardiac arrest survivors experience persistent neuropsychological deficits, particularly in the areas of memory and attention. They may also be at higher risk of experiencing anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); however prevalence rates are not well established,” Dr Case said.

Dr Case’s study will involve formal psychological testing of cardiac arrest survivors and interviews with patients and family.

“We anticipate this study will provide important information about patients’ long-term experiences, persistent psychological symptoms, and caregiver experiences following cardiac arrest,” said Dr Case.

The data will be used to develop a psychological intervention programme for cardiac arrest survivors and their families to improve psychosocial functioning in this population. The research team involves Dr Janet Bray, Dr Dion Stub and Associate Professor Karen Smith (Ambulance Victoria).

Dr Beck’s project, titled ‘Deaths from traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: epidemiology and preventability’, will focus on trauma deaths occurring in the prehospital setting.

“Traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) survival is poor, with many patients dying at the scene. However, there is currently little published data examining the cause of death and treatment provided in these cases,” said Dr Beck.

Dr Beck’s project will examine coronial reports to profile the cause of trauma OHCA deaths in Victoria, and then use expert panel reviews of individual cases to identify components of the current clinical pathways where current best evidence care was not delivered.

“This information will allow us to determine whether any of these deaths may have been prevented throughout the chain of survival by looking at factors such as bystander assistance, faster ambulance response, shorter paramedic scene times and specific clinical managements. We also plan to identify cases where novel prehospital therapies may improve outcomes,” he said.

It is envisaged that Dr Beck’s work will lead to the identification of targeted interventions that may improve survival in these trauma patients. Associate investigators include Associate Professor Karen Smith (Ambulance Victoria), Professor Peter Cameron and Dr Janet Bray.

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