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The Centre for Quality and Patient Safety (QPS) Research is a Strategic Research Centre of Deakin University and is the first coordinated program of its kind in Australia. Led by Deakin’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, one of Australia’s most research active schools of nursing, QPS includes researchers from Deakin’s School of Medicine and the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, reflecting its multidisciplinary ethos. In addition, expertise is drawn from the School of Nursing and Midwifery's extensive Victorian healthcare partnership network, which includes: Alfred Health, Barwon Health, Cabrini Health, Eastern Health, Epworth HealthCare, Northern Health, Southern Health, and Uniting Care Community Options. Each of these partner healthcare organisations has a conjoint appointment with the School of Nursing and Midwifery in the form of either a Professor of Clinical Nursing or a Senior Research Fellow. Research expertise is also drawn from a range of international research collaborations and affiliations, which are strongly aligned with QPS’s strategic priority areas.
QPS’s vision is to be a world leader in health service research, particularly translational research, focusing on clinical care, quality and risk management. These foci have synergy with national research priorities and the Australian Government’s quest for safer and high quality health care.
The primary aim of QPS is to ensure that relevant and responsive research is undertaken in the areas of quality care, risk management, and improving patient/client outcomes across hospital, aged care, and community care settings. Research findings are also influential in policy development at local, state, national and international levels.
Through its research activities QPS also aims to contribute to the government’s health reform agenda, which is aimed at addressing the escalating pressures in the health system. These pressures relate to population ageing, population growth and diversity, and associated increasing consumer demand for health services that are safe, of high quality, appropriately distributed and flexible to meet population needs.
The primary goals of QPS research are improving the safety, quality and equity of health care; minimising clinical risks; symptom management; workforce development; and advancing evidence-based policy and practice. To this end, programmatic research has been progressed in four strategic research priority areas:
• Clinical Risk and Symptom Management
• Workforce Development and Health Care Service Delivery Models
• Consumer Involvement in Health and Social Care Decision-making
• Health Care Ethics and Policy Development
This has included projects investigating:
• pain management
• medication safety
• nutrition and wound healing
• injury prevention
• continence management
• anxiety and depression symptom management
• infection control
• early identification (and intervention) for high prevalence mental health problems through improved point of entry screening
• cancer care
• diabetes care
• aged care
• cardiovascular care
• palliative care
• emergency care
• client-centred decision-making
• independence in aged care
• end-of-life decision-making
Clinical Risk and Symptom Management
Partnerships with industry form the basis for research in this area investigating the safety and quality of health care, processes for minimising clinical risks and improving symptom and chronic disease management. Researchers collaborate with clinicians to translate research knowledge into practice, to develop and implement innovations designed to reduce adverse events and to improve the safety and quality of patient/client care.
Workforce Development and Health Care Service Delivery Models
In this strategic priority area, researchers work in partnership with the health care sector to develop and implement projects to improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of health service delivery. One of the key challenges facing the Australian health care system is how to use limited resources effectively and efficiently to meet the growing demands for professional health care of an ageing and diverse population. Another key challenge is responding effectively to the increasing burden of chronic diseases. Researchers are developing and evaluating innovations to improve the productivity, responsiveness and capacity of the health care workforce to meet these challenges.
Consumer Involvement in Health and Social Care Decision-making
Researchers in this area develop and implement projects that encourage the involvement of consumers in decisions that directly affect and shape their care. Evidence is mounting that consumer involvement in health and social care decision-making produces safer and more effective, flexible and responsive care outcomes. Researchers are developing projects and initiatives that further our understanding of the issues that consumers face in accessing and dealing with the health and social care system, and also developing and trialling innovative solutions and policies to improve health and social care services.
Health Care Ethics and Policy Development
In this strategic priority area, researchers lead projects that examine and evaluate the role and impact of ethics guidance and ethical frameworks in health policy proposals. The aim is to develop theory and produce evidence to inform the development, integration and implementation of ethics guidance pertinent to the ethical and effective delivery of health care. Projects also encompass the development of methodologies for the translation of evidence into the ethical integration and implementation of health-related policy. Researchers engage stakeholders, including policy makers, health service managers, clinicians, patients and caregivers to influence policy reform and innovation.