Grants support preliminary research

Clare Linton

A pilot program supporting self-administration of chemotherapy at home is among seven research projects to receive funding under the 2021 Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) Caring for our Future Research Grants.

The innovative projects have been awarded grants, totalling $127,005 in funding.

The grants enable CCLHD staff and students to undertake research that will deliver long-term benefits to patients and the community.

Jacqui Jagger of Cancer Services and Michael Swab of the Pharmacy Department are receiving a grant to pilot and evaluate a new model of care for eligible myeloma patients using self-administration of chemotherapy at home.

Jagger said her research grant would help “give back a bit of control” to cancer patients.

“This grant will help us provide better support for cancer patients in a number of ways,” she said.

“Firstly, by removing the need to make regular, sometimes twice a week, visits to hospital, it gives them more time to do the things they want to do.

“This also helps the patient’s family, who often have to provide transport.

“Myeloma is particularly difficult in that its chronic nature means people are more often on treatment than they are not. This grant will help keep a group of patients particularly susceptible to infections out of hospital, yet in active treatment from the comfort of their own home.

“It will also enable us to develop robust telehealth services that relieve some of the pressure on our Cancer Services teams, providing sustainable benefits to District staff and patients alike.”

Research into mental health support for First Nations pregnant women and mothers has also received a funding boost.

Melissa Stephens from the Ngiyang Aboriginal Pregnancy Child and Family Health Service, and Leanne Roberts of Women, Children and Families, have been granted funds to improve anxiety and depression screening for First Nations pregnant women and mothers of children up to six years old.

The research will develop an improved and culturally appropriate tool that allows for a comprehensive mental health assessment of pregnant Aboriginal women and mothers.

Other recipients include Jonathan Brinton and Dr Anne Purcell from the Community Nursing Service who receive funds to evaluate the impact of CCLHD Communication Nursing Service’s Specialist Wound Centre model of care, introduced in 2019, on improving wound healing rates and patient experiences, along with economic efficiencies.

Dr Anne Purcell and
Jonathan Brinton

Cheryl Travers and Andrew Dixon from the Public Health Unit have been awarded a grant to explore the factors that affect healthcare workers’ ability and willingness to work during natural disasters and extreme weather events.

Dr Anna Schutz of the Neurology Department and Dr Karen Hutchinson from the Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, both will receive funding to assess the impact of a community-based multidisciplinary motor neurone disease (MND) clinic, established in February 2020 on the Central Coast, on improving quality of life and patient outcomes in a regional setting.

Clare Linton of the Podiatry Department, along with the University of Newcastle’s Professor Vivienne Chuter and Dr Sean Sadler, have been awarded a grant to help reduce the likelihood of people with diabetes developing ulcers or requiring amputation.

Finally, Sim Galimam, of the Wyong Pharmacy Department, and Nicole Cerruto, from the Gosford Pharmacy Department, will receive funds to investigate whether COVID has affected the way patients with respiratory infections are treated empirically with antimicrobials.

The research will involve a retrospective observational study comparing two randomised cohorts of patients, one with COVID and another with influenza, and will help formulate guidelines for future antimicrobial use during respiratory illness outbreaks like coronaviruses.

The Caring for our Future Research Grants support projects that generate preliminary data in order to attract further larger funding grants in the future, such as the Translational Research Grants Scheme (TRGS), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants or research fellowships.

Research Manager at CCLHD’s Research Office, Dr Katherine Bolton, congratulated the recipients.

“There were so many fantastic applications to choose from, but the quality of these projects really stood out in terms of the sustainable impact they will have,” she said.

“The research projects will go a long way to enhancing the way we deliver care so that we can achieve the very best outcomes for our patients and the wider community.”

Media release, Oct 14
Central Coast Local Health District