03 Jun 2022

Maridulu Budyari Gumal – SPHERE announces Big Ideas Grant recipient

A research project which aims to reduce patient clinical deterioration, pressure injuries and falls, is the recipient of the inaugural Maridulu Budyari Gumal (SPHERE) Big Ideas Grant. $500,000 has been awarded for expenditure over two years.

Led by Professor Sandy Middleton and Adjunct Professor Anna Thornton from St Vincent’s Hospital,  the project will run over five hospitals (St Vincent’s, Prince of Wales, Sutherland, St George and Liverpool) and across three SPHERE Local Health Districts (South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, South Western Sydney Local Health District, St Vincent’s Hospital Network Sydney) plus Lismore Hospital in Northern NSW and will incorporate collaboration across three SPHERE Clinical Academic Groups (CAGs) and three SPHERE Strategic Platforms.

The SPHERE Big Ideas Grant Scheme was developed with the aim of encouraging new large-scale, ambitious programs of work that bring researchers, clinicians and patients together across and beyond the SPHERE partnership.

A Grant Review Panel comprising members of the SPHERE Council, consumer and community and NSW Ministry of Health representatives as well as SPHERE Executives scored applications for project significance.  This project was recommended for funding due to its potential to improve health service delivery and outcomes.

“We’re excited to present this year’s grant to Professors Middleton and Thornton and their team. This innovative project aims to foster collaboration across SPHERE CAGs and Strategic Platforms as well as organisations outside of SPHERE with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes,” said Tobi Wilson, Chief Executive at South Eastern Sydney Local Health District and SPHERE Council Member.

The funded project, Assessment and CommuniCation ExcelLEnce foR sAfe paTIent Outcomes Now (ACCELERATE_PLUS): A Stepped-Wedge Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial, addresses the need for ward-based multidisciplinary systems to prevent shortcomings in clinical care, to reduce early patient deterioration, pressure injuries and falls.

Critical to this project is a comprehensive, systematic patient assessment by nurses and improved clinical handover.

“We are delighted that SPHERE has recognised the importance of this project. We believe it will help mitigate harm through improved physical assessment by nurses and effective multidisciplinary communication,” says project co-lead, Professor Middleton.

“We are grateful to SPHERE for providing funding which allows us to continue this important work which will ultimately lead to improved patient outcomes.”

Co-lead Professor Anna Thornton, Executive Director of Nursing at St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney noted, “This is a first for nurse-led translational research across the sector and exciting for nurses to be at the forefront of practice change leading cutting-edge research. The findings of this trial will be of significance nationally and also for other areas of care where nurse-led protocols urgently need to be put into practice to improve patient outcomes.”


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