Flinders Medical Centre Foundation
Flinders Medical Centre Foundation

Emergency Medicine

Nurses Lead Improved Care For Miscarriage Patients 

Fellowship Winner Sets His Sights On Stroke

Nurses Lead Improved Care For Miscarriage Patients
First Published: Investigator - September 2008

A project led by Emergency Department nurses is improving the hospital journey for women who experience bleeding in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

There is a possibility that women who experience bleeding in the first 12 weeks (first trimester) will have a miscarriage.

One in five pregnancies will end in miscarriage in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but unfortunately there is no medical intervention which can prevent a miscarriage from occurring.

Reasons for miscarriage include a malfunction of the early development of the fertilised egg, or development of pregnancy in the wrong part of the uterus.

‘We identified that it was important to consider the psychological, spiritual and emotional aspects of women as well as their medical needs,’ Acting Clinical Services Coordinator Jacki McDonald said.

Education sessions have been held for Emergency Department staff to gain a better understanding of miscarriage and the psychological needs of women.

‘Women experiencing miscarriage are going through a traumatic experience, and it can be difficult for some women to retain information, or be in the right frame of mind to ask questions,’ she said.

‘Some women are so distraught it is hard for them to understand what is happening, or why it has happened; other women get home and realise they didn’t ask enough questions.’

Detailed patient information brochures have been developed for women which provide information about miscarriage, medical advice and contact details to support groups and other resources.

All women experiencing miscarriage are now referred to FMC-based social workers, who offer counselling services and make follow up calls with patients.

‘Threatened miscarriage or miscarriage is something we really care about as nurses, and we decided that we wanted to do something about it,’ Jacki said.

Fellowship Winner Sets His Sights On Stroke
First Published: Investigator - July 2008

A Flinders Medical Centre consultant neurologist is spearheading a campaign to increase the efficiency of stroke diagnosis and treatment by emergency medical services.

Dr Andrew Lee will use a two year NICS Fellowship awarded by the National Health and Medical Research Council to improve formal stroke education among emergency department staff and paramedics.

‘If clot busting drugs can be given within three hours of the onset of stroke symptoms, the number of people dying or becoming disabled after suffering an ischaemic stroke (stroke caused by blood clots) can be reduced.’

‘But to achieve this we need ambulance paramedics trained in stroke treatment and the seamless transfer of these patients to stroke units.’

Andrew said formal stroke education for emergency department staff and paramedics was lacking in Australia.

‘The NICS Fellowship will allow me to develop and deliver this knowledge for ambulance paramedics. I’ll also implement standardised systems to assess stroke severity and provide pre-hospital notification of incoming stroke patients.’

Andrew said best practice therapy for patients who had experienced stroke within the previous three hours was to be administered clot-busting agents.

‘I want to translate that therapy - that has been proven from 10 years research – and implement it into normal clinical practice.

‘It’s not always easy to identify a stroke patient, because stroke can masquerade as many other conditions. That’s what I hope to change with education and systems, so that paramedics and emergency department staff can quickly and effectively recognise and treat stroke patients.’

Andrew said if stroke patients were treated with the appropriate therapy in the shortest time there was a 30 percent increased chance that they would recover without disabling side effects.

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