Improve trauma care in young Australians

The George Institute secures grant to improve trauma care in young Australians

Researchers in injury management at The George Institute for Global Health and The University of New South Wales (UNSW) have been awarded a Clinician Researchers: Applied Research grant by the Medical Research Futures Fund to improve trauma care in children and young people up to age 16, particularly those in rural and remote areas. The project aims to deliver better results for patients through consistent clinical management.

Trauma is the leading cause of death and morbidity among young people in Australia and internationally. Injury hospitalisations are highest in rural and remote areas with significant variation in clinical care. In blunt trauma, mostly from motor vehicle crashes or falls, the spleen is the most commonly injured organ. Variation in care means there is a higher chance the young person will have an unnecessary operation when they present outside of major paediatric trauma centres.

The project is led by Associate Professor Susan Adams, Research Fellow in the Injury Division at The George Institute and Conjoint Associate Professor at UNSW Medicine, Professor Julie Brown, Program Head of the Injury Division at The George Institute and Professor at UNSW Medicine, and Dr Anna Palagyi, Program Lead – Ageing and Health Systems at The George Institute and Conjoint Senior Lecturer at UNSW.

Using splenic injury as an exemplar, their research aims to improve the quality of care for young people, particularly those in rural and remote Australia, by reducing disparities and improving the experience of both patients and their families, following trauma.

This work will meet an important need for a clinical management guideline for injured children and young people across the trauma system, addressing management, transfer, length of stay and other issues that matter most to patients and their families, especially those in rural locations who often face the added stresses of being a long way from home.  This will be the first time globally that consumer preferences have been considered in a clinical trauma guideline development.

While the project will focus on management of abdominal trauma, the new model of action delivered through this work will provide a template for addressing other areas of unwarranted variation in trauma management of young people in Australia.