Warrnambool paramedic and PhD student with Deakin University’s Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine Kate Cleverley hopes a study she is conducting will lead to improved procedures for transferring paediatric patients to hospitals.
Ms Cleverley said the study could lead to new guidelines that could be used across rural Victoria for the best procedures for taking paediatric patients to the most appropriate facility.
A paramedic with 10 years experience, Ms Cleverley said there were no current guidelines to direct paramedics.
“The intention of the study is to look at paramedic decision-making and to develop protocols and guidelines to make sure paediatric patients who need to go to a higher level of facility are transported there as rapidly as possible,” she said.
“It is not only about the timely nature of the transportation but determining the most appropriate facility to take patients to depending on the level of care required.”
Ms Cleverley said that anecdotally there had been some reports over time of cases where young patients had not been taken to the most appropriate facility.
“It isn’t a common problem but I think having guidelines for paramedics to follow would make the situation less likely to arise.”
She is conducting her research across the Barwon South West region and will include paramedic focus groups, interviews and information from the ambulance service databases. However, she said the planned guidelines could apply to any rural region.
Ms Cleverley completed her Master’s thesis in paediatric weight calculations used by paramedics and was keen to continue her studies in a similar field. She started her PhD studies this year and expects it will take several years to complete. “I am studying part-time at Deakin University in Warrnambool and working at the same time. It’s still in the early stages.”
Ms Cleverley has worked from Warrnambool for the past 18 months and for the six years prior to that was based at Hamilton.
Deakin’s Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine (CREM) is a joint initiative between the Department of Human Services, Portland District Health, South West Healthcare (Warrnambool), Alcoa of Australia and the Deakin Medical School.