Kickstarter Grant recipient Frank Gomes’ plans to revolutionise Emergency Department care for older adults at Westmead and Blacktown hospitals

Frank Gomes, Senior Occupational Therapist in the Emergency Department (ED) at Blacktown and Westmead hospitals, has been named as the recipient of the prestigious Kickstarter Grant for Allied Health, with his topic ‘Detecting decline in functional cognition in older adults to aid timely and safer discharge from Emergency Department‘.

The Kickstarter Grant Program offers clinicians the opportunity to research an idea that may improve service and patient outcomes – and what makes these grants particularly special is the support offered to recipients to launch this next part of their careers.

The Pulse spoke with Frank about his research and what this will mean for western Sydney healthcare.

“In ED, older adults have the highest rates of presentations, and older people with cognitive impairment are 1.5 times more likely to have an avoidable ED visit and is two times more likely to have an hospital admission or return after an ED visit,” Frank said.

“However, currently ED discharge planning does not include routine cognitive screening or management plan, nor do we currently have feasible or validated standardised tools to assess functional cognition to identify high risk older adults.  

My research will have a direct impact on how we screen and manage our increasing high risk older adults including culturally and linguistically diverse population, by applying an innovative approach of functional cognition within the ED to provide more value driven care.

Frank Gomes, WSLHD Senior Occupational Therapist

Frank says that this Kickstarter grant will help his work as the first to recommend a list of psychometrically sound and feasible functional cognitive screening tools for ED to support clinician’s rapid and accurate decision-making for further assessment and discharge planning to identify vulnerable patients at risk of failed discharges, re-admissions, and deterioration.

As part of the Rapid Assessment Intervention Discharge (RAID) team, a transdisciplinary team working across EDs at Blacktown and Westmead Hospitals, Frank’s expertise provides a unique insight into ED and how patients navigate their healthcare journey. 

See the full list of Kickstarter Grant recipients here.