New trial to ease pain for surgical patients
A new medical trial, supported by the Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation, is designed to improve
outcomes for patients who have had knee or spinal surgery with standardised rehabilitation.
An estimated 550,000 elective surgical procedures are
performed each year in Australia for musculoskeletal
conditions and one in seven of these operations is for either
osteoarthritis of the knee or lower back pain.
However, despite the prevalence of these surgeries there
is a lack of standardised remote care in the aftermath of
surgery, which can significantly vary patient outcomes.
The PATHway trial will use digital technology to monitor
patient symptoms over a period of 12 months and provide
health coaching, allowing patients to be treated remotely
rather than inside a hospital.
“It’s critical that we look at different ways that will allow
people to get back the function that they need following
those major surgeries,” PATHway Chief Investigator,
Professor David Hunter said.
Researchers will use a fit bit to track activity levels and sleep,
a program to help prescribe exercise and two separate
devices which will assess knee motion and posture.
228 inpatient participants will be recruited for the trial,
starting in early 2019. They will include both knee and spinal
They’ll undergo testing at three Ramsay Health Care sites,
including Lawrence Hargrave Private Hospital, Hunters Hill
Private Hospital and Mt Wilga Private Hospital.
It is expected the proposed recovery pathway included in
this trial will deliver a standardised remote rehabilitation
program, which will be more effective in improving pain,
6 The Ramsay Way 2019 | 01
mobility and function in people who’ve
underdone spinal or knee surgery.
“Everybody’s talking about how technology
is disrupting the workforce. This may be
another situation where technology
could be used to facilitate recovery
remotely, rather than being
done face-to-face,” Professor
Study to ease pressure injuries
at Greenslopes Private Hospital
Staff at Greenslopes Private Hospital will lead research aiming to reduce the prevalence of pressure
injuries, which affect the skin and/or underlying tissue as a result of pressure or friction.
The incidence of pressure injuries is rising in Australia,
with patients spending an average of almost 24 days
longer in hospital than patients without a pressure injury.
Nurse Unit Manager Catherine Stewart has worked
at Greenslopes Private Hospital for almost two
decades and has seen firsthand the significant impact
of pressure injuries.
Motivated by a desire to turn these observations into
improved outcomes for patients, Ms Stewart applied for an
Innovation Grant offered by the Gallipoli Medical Research
Based on the hospital campus, GMRF conducts a range
of innovative medical research projects and programs to
address the impact of serious illness, both now and for
The GMRF Innovation Grants provides funding to GPH
staff to establish a one-year research project aimed at
enhancing outcomes for hospital patients and staff.
The driving theory behind Ms Stewart’s research project
is that the rate of pressure injuries can be significantly
decreased by enhancing staff education on prevention
“With the right knowledge pressure injuries are
preventable,” Ms Stewart said.
“I’m hoping that in the short term, education of staff will
lead to a reduction in the number of pressure injuries
we’reseeing, and in the long term improve outcomes for
every patient admitted to this hospital.”
Ms Stewart is trialling an education program which will
include a test mannequin, resources and a specialist
wound nurse who will visit wards to educate staff on
pressure injury staging, management and prevention.
The education strategy will initially be conducted by the
specialist wound nurse over a three month period from
May to July 2019 – the months with the highest reported
rates of pressure injuries – with a view to educate staff to
make sustained changes to staff practices.
Ms Stewart, who works extensively with the stomal ward,
said: “The potential value of this research project isn’t
limited to just one ward. Improved education can help to
enhance the health of patients throughout the hospital.”
This grant was proudly funded by GMRF Discovery
Partner Thynne and Macartney Lawyers.
‘Walk in my shoes’
at Nambour Selangor
A patient experience initiative is proving to be
a valuable educational tool for staff at Nambour
Selangor Private Hospital.
‘Walk in my shoes’ is a staff publication featuring
real patient interviews. These interviews contain
comprehensive information about patients’ thoughts,
feelings, experiences and expectations.
The publication is designed to increase employee
awareness of what the hospital journey is like from the
patients’ points of view, to provide patients with an
opportunity to be heard, and to help facilitate effective
Since December 2017, a rotational plan has been in place
to allow each hospital area the opportunity to participate
in the ‘Walk in my shoes’ initiative.
The process involves staff members interviewing patients
using a pre-determined question set, then creating the
document using a template.
‘Walk in my shoes’ has resulted in a range of improvements
at Nambour Selangor Hospital, including:
• The dialysis unit now focuses more on patient education
regarding weight loss for transplant work-up, including
greater involvement of multidisciplinary team members
(such as a dietitian).
• The Miles Savill ward (palliative area) has expanded its
approach to conversations with patients from a pain score
assessment to a more empathetic conversation about pain
and the best ways to manage it.
• The theatre team found the process reinforced the
importance of one-on-one interaction with patients
– that getting to know the person allowed staff to
intercept problems before they arose.
GMRF co-patron Professor John Pearn, nurse unit manager
Catherine Stewart and innovation grant sponsor Karen Gaston
from Thynne and Macartney.