Grant awarded to support WSLHD researcher’s focus on supporting older people returning home after hospital

Kirsten Parker, member of the Centre for Chronic and Complex Care Research at Blacktown Hospital, has been awarded $50,000 by the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Research & Education Network (REN) to examine the feasibility and acceptability of a transitional care intervention.

Prompted by challenges she saw while working in hospitals, Kristen is leading the PhD project to examine how best to support older people returning home after a hospital stay.

“Seeing the negative effects that multiple readmissions have on vulnerable populations has been the true catalyst for the design and development of this project.

We ultimately hope to improve patients’ experience and safety in the high-risk journey from hospital to home.

Kristen’s project will connect with frail and elderly patients from Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals, who are being discharged to return to their homes.

During the trial, a specially-trained nurse navigator, who helps guide patients through their treatment by providing resources and the necessary information to make informed decisions, will meet with patients in the hospital before discharge to discuss their home care plan and make necessary referrals.

After discharge, the nurse navigator will contact the patient within a few days to offer support and answer questions about the discharge summary and follow-up plan.

During this contact, the nurse will make referrals, facilitate GP reviews when needed and provide education and resources.

The project aims to ensure patients transition safely from hospital to home and to increase the time they spend at home.

The patients’ experience and quality of life will improve when they have a clinician advocate for them upon their transition from the hospital to their home.

“This funding from the Research and Education Network within WSLHD will enable me to undertake this important research project in improving care continuity when patients discharge from hospital,” Kirsten said.

I am so grateful for the funding and support of the network as we test this nurse navigator model of care.