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Current Projects

Nurse-led follow up phone calls for patients discharged from acute care facilities: A mixed method evaluation of a post-discharge follow-up phone call intervention in a large local health district in NSW Australia

Receiving a follow up phone call (FUPC) within 24hrs of discharge from all Hunter New England (HNE) hospitals has been implemented variously across the Local Health District since 2013 as part of the Patient Care Essentials program within the Excellence: Evidence Based Leadership Framework. This study aims to evaluate FUPCs to better understand current practices and processes and inform intervention refinement across variable contexts within HNELHD. The RE-AIM theoretical framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) will guide a mixed methods evaluation. Quantitative and text data will be obtained from historical service data and via an online survey of key stakeholder groups with responsibility for FUPCs (Nursing and Midwifery managers and clinicians). Qualitative data will be collected via focus groups with purposively recruited inpatient, ward-based nursing and midwifery clinicians and unit managers, and via telephone interviews with patients who have previously responded to FUPCs.

Team Members:

Dr Sophie Dilworth, Assoc Prof Michelle Giles, Dr Gena Lieschke, Dr John Wiggers, Ms Kamana Bantawa, Ms Evelyn Palominos-Letelier, Ms Stacey Simpson, Mr Michael Fahy, Prof Maralyn Foureur

Improving emergency care outcomes for rural and remote communities: Examining the effectiveness, feasibility and impact of an embedded emergency department Nurse Practitioner model of care

Due to ongoing workforce deficits in the health sector, particularly in rural and remote regions, access to essential healthcare services including emergency care have been compromised. Challenges with attracting and retaining appropriately qualified medical and nursing staff in these areas has resulted in many health care facilities needing to deploy expensive contingency plans, including the commissioning of out-reach medical services.  Emergency department nurse practitioners employed to manage patients presenting to emergency departments with non-life threatening conditions have been reported to be effective in providing timely, effective high quality care that is acceptable to patients and feasible for services to adopt.  This study seeks to evaluate if a similar model implemented in four rural emergency departments in Hunter New England Local Health District is an effective, feasible, acceptable and cost-effective approach to maintaining emergency services within rural health jurisdictions.

Team Members:

Assoc Prof Michelle Giles, Mr Michael Fahy, Dr Sophie Dilworth, Dr Christopher Oldmeadow, Prof Jennifer May, Mr Mathew Lutze, Ms Josephine Burton, Prof Maralyn Foureur, Assoc Prof Peter Massey, Dr Gena Lieschke

Developing a sustainable model of research capacity leadership and partnership in the HNE Nursing and Midwifery workforce: HNE CNC/CMC Research Internship

The Nursing and Midwifery CNC/CMC Research Internship and Mentorship program aims to support successful applicants in building research skills and literacy through participation in applied clinical research and mentoring. Research interns will develop their skills in researching clinical practice issues, translational research methods and implementation science.  There are two key components in the program; 1) CNC/CMC Internship and 2) Research Mentorship.

The Research workshop is for senior nursing and midwifery (NM) clinicians to build skills in research capacity and leadership. A Research mentorship program links trained mentors with each clinician undertaking the research workshop.  The HNE Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre (NMRC) supports and facilitates both the research workshops and the mentorships and work closely with partners (UON, UNE and HNE Nursing and Midwifery Services) to develop a sustainable Community of Research Practice for Nurses and Midwives in HNELHD. This program will be run annually and as a result further building a collaborative HNELHD Nursing and Midwifery Research Community of Practice.

Team Members:

Assoc Prof Michelle Giles, Prof Maralyn Foureur, Prof Vicki Parker, Dr Se Ok Ohr

Evaluating and Optimising Nursing and Midwifery Research in Practice

Despite growing understanding of the role of research in ensuring best practice outcomes, knowledge about the engagement and activity of nurses and midwives in research appears to be limited.  Growing emphasis on practice based translational research has impacted on the roles and activity of nurses and midwives more broadly.  It is timely and essential to understand how nurses and midwives have responded to this change and to look for ways to enhance their participation in research, with the goal of embedding research expertise and processes and normalising research as integral to nursing and midwifery practice.

This HNELHD wide cross-sectional online survey of all nurses and midwives aims to understand the current Nursing and Midwifery research environment, the skills, resources and opportunities available and the role of nurses and midwives as members of research teams.

Team Members:

Assoc Prof Michelle Giles, Prof Vicki Parker, Dr Se Ok Ohr, Dr Gena Lieschke, Prof Maralyn Foureur, Ms Evelyn Palominos-Letelier, Ms Jean Ball, Ms Kamana Bantawa


Towards translational research participation for nurses and midwives: a mixed method study, Feb 2022

Partnerships in Aged-Care Emergency services using Interactive Telehealth (PACE-IT) incorporating telehealth visual assessment, information sharing and decision making for people living in residential aged-care facilities (RACF)

This project aims to reduce unnecessary RACF resident presentations to Emergency Department and hospital admissions, strengthen partnerships and decision making between EDs and RACFs, improve communication and increase the skill and confidence of RACF staff and ensure care is delivered by the right person in the right place, and in a timely manner.

The project builds on the pilot project completed at John Hunter Hospital in 2018.

Team Members:

Ms Carla Sunner, Assoc Prof Michelle Giles, Prof Maralyn Foureur, Dr Carolyn Hullick, Ms Roslyn Barker, Ms Jenny Rutherford, Prof Vicki Parker, Dr Rod Ling, Dr Christopher Oldmeadow, Ms Kathryn Cain, Ms Melissa Jolliffe, Ms Miriam Eaton, Dr Se Ok Ohr, Ms Jean Ball, Ms Sophie Dilworth, Ms Kamana Bantawa

Funding: NSW Health Translational Research Grant Scheme (TRGS) ​$751,000.​
Awards: HNE Health Excellence Awards (2021)

Does telehealth influence the decision to transfer residents of residential aged care facilities to emergency departments? A scoping review, Nov 2022

Experiences of nurses working in RACFs and EDs utilising visual telehealth consultation to assess the need for RACF resident transfer to ED: A qualitative descriptive study, September 2022

COVID-19 preparedness in aged care: A qualitative study exploring residential aged care facility managers experiences planning for a pandemic, December 2020

PACE-IT study protocol: a stepped wedge cluster randomised controlled trial evaluating the implementation of telehealth visual assessment in emergency care for people living in residential agedcare facilities, July 2020

The HealthTracker Project

Tracking surgical site infection post caesarean section through post hospital discharge surveillance.

This project aims to more accurately identify post Caesarean Section surgical site infection (CS SSI) with improved access to data, establishing a baseline and ongoing monitoring across HNELHD. This in turn will stimulate action from health services aimed at preventing post CS SSI. The proposed "Healthtracker" surveillance system facilitates active patient-reported SSI identification through an automated SMS linking women to an individualised online SSI survey.

Team members: 

Assoc Prof Michelle Giles,  Dr Se Ok Ohr, Ms Sally Munnoch, Ms Mandy Hunter, Mr Jeff Deane, Prof Maralyn Foureur, Assoc Prof John Ferguson, Mr Patrick Cashman, Dr Andrew Woods, Dr Christopher Oldmeadow

Funding: HNELHD Improvement Project Grant $26,378; HMRI Statistical support grant $7,500
Awards: HNE Health Excellence Awards (2021)

What gets measured gets noticed. Tracking surgical site infection post caesarean section through community surveillance: A post intervention study protocol, May 2021

Usability and effectiveness of HealthTracker for surgical site infection surveillance: an intervention study, Journal of Advanced Nursing (Submitted).

Evaluating and Optimising Nursing and Midwifery Research in Practice

The aim of the study is to understand the current Nursing and Midwifery research environment, the skills, resources and opportunities available and the role of nurses and midwives as members of research teams.  The study results will inform the strategic work of the Nursing and Midwifery Research Centre and help to determine ways in which nurses and midwives can contribute to LHD-wide transdisciplinary research initiatives.

Team members:

Assoc Prof Michelle Giles, Prof Vicki Parker, Dr Se Ok Ohr, Dr Gena Lieschke, Prof Maralyn Foureur, Ms Evelyn Palominos Letelier, Ms Jean Ball, Ms Kamana Bantawa, Dr Sophie Dilworth

Funding: HMRI’s Clinical Research Design, Information Technology and Statistical Support (CReDITSS): $7,500