The Silver Chain Group Research team is focused on making a positive contribution to understanding how our services, and the broader Australian health system, can be more efficient, accessible and cost-effective. Some projects with opportunities for system-wide use the team has been working on in 2012/13 include:
- The Illawarra Retirement Trust (IRT) funded us to conduct a randomised controlled trial of Telehealth Remote Monitoring for people with multiple chronic conditions and frequent related hospital admissions. Participants in the intervention group of the study were provided with Telehealth equipment and trained to measure and enter their vital signs daily which are then reviewed remotely by a nurse. The aim of the research is to identify any deterioration in the client’s condition and prompt early intervention to avoid the need for hospitalisation. It also aims to empower older individuals to take a more active role in managing their chronic illnesses.
- Our South Australian team, working closely with its wound specialist colleagues, received funding from the National Wound Management Innovation Collaborative Research Centre to conduct a study to examine the microbial contamination of open but unused portions of wound dressings, stored in home settings. This study’s findings will potentially have very significant implications for the use of wound dressings across all health care settings.
- The Aged and Continuing Care Branch of the Western Australian Department of Health commenced funding us for three projects; two in relation to extending the Home Independence Program (HIP) service model and the third for developing and testing outcome measures for Home and Community Care (HACC) funded services. Both extensions to the HIP model have included the development of staff training as well as piloting and subsequent service evaluation; the first for a model that can be delivered by co-ordinators rather than health professionals, and the second for a service that includes strategies directed at assisting people living with dementia or cognitive impairment, as well as individuals who are cognitively intact.