A delirium management research project in the Illawarra is one of nine translational research projects to receive state government funding.
The projects all up will share in almost $6 million to improve Aboriginal and elderly health, and provide more efficient patient care.
The Illawarra research project is headed up by Professor Val Wilson from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and UOW's School of Nursing and Professor Victoria Traynor from the Illawarra Health and Medical Institute (IHMRI) and the UOW School of Nursing.
Professor Val Wilson has welcomed the funding of $531,250 to support research into improving care for hospital patients experiencing post-operative delirium.
"Untreated and undetected delirium leads to many health problems including falls, longer stays in hospital and sometimes death. Delirium can become a chronic health problem causing individuals to relocate into a nursing home and also develop dementia," Prof Wilson said.
"There is less evidence of delirium in the post-surgery recovery area, where an individual is transferred before they go to a ward."
Delirium is an acute, reversible, short-term confusion that presents as agitation and reduced alertness.
The research team will work with clinical staff in recovery units at Wollongong, St. George and Bega hospitals to improve delirium care.
"This project will use interactive education to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of delirium experienced by older people after surgery," Professor Victoria Traynor said.
"We will use role-play scenarios of a delirium patient with clinical staff undertaking an assessment of the 'actors' to detect delirium and implement management strategies."
Prof Traynor will present a public talk at this year's UOW Big Ideas Festival on October 16 about her work to equip nurses with the skills they need to recognise and manage delirium in patients.
Since 2016, the NSW Government has invested $21.95 million to fund 62 translational research projects.