News

Australian first study looks at identifying childhood injuries and helping parents


2 May 2013

"We want to find out what we can do to improve care for severely injured children and to help their families," said researcher Associate Professor Curtis. [Image: Flickr/Daniel Lobo, used under the Creative Commons licence]
"We want to find out what we can do to improve care for severely injured children and to help their families," said researcher Associate Professor Curtis. [Image: Flickr/Daniel Lobo, used under the Creative Commons licence]

A major study led by researchers from the University of Sydney will examine the incidence of severe paediatric trauma for the first time in Australia and look at how to prevent serious injuries to children.

The research was made possible by a $574,000 donation from the Day of Difference Foundation, which was formed in 2005 by Ron and Carolyn Delezio after they experienced first-hand what parents go through as a result of having their daughter, Sophie, critically injured.

Since the inception of the charity, more than $2.5 million worth of life saving equipment, services and research has been provided to hospitals in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

The ground breaking six year study, the first stage made possible by the donation from the Day of Difference Foundation, will bring together the evidence needed to change healthcare policy to better support the parents of critically injured children as well as ensuring injured children are treated at the right hospital.

Alarmingly, more than 1000 children are hospitalised each week in Australia as a result of a serious injury.

And the number of children hospitalised after injury in Australia in 2006-2007 was double the number of children hospitalised for asthma, diabetes and cancer combined.

The study and research program are being developed by Associate Professor Kate Curtis and Associate Professor Kim Foster from the University's Sydney Nursing School and Dr Rebecca Mitchell from Transport and Road Safety Research, University of NSW.

Associate Professor Curtis said the research will, for the first time ever, describe the incidence of severe paediatric trauma Australia-wide and also seek to identify the unmet needs of the parents of injured children.

"We want to find out what we can do to improve care for severely injured children and to help their families," Associate Professor Curtis said.

"We'll find out what can be done to benefit children and parents to help them navigate and get through this highly stressful experience.

"Our research will enable us to target injury-prevention campaigns and policy at specific causes, so there can be fewer children suffering severe injury in the first place.

"This research is essential to establish effective interventions to assist parents of injured children, like Ron andCarolyn Delezio, to navigate their way through the journey of having a traumatically injured child," Associate Professor Curtis said.


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Media enquiries: Rachel Gleeson, 02 9351 4630, 0481 004 782, rachel.gleeson@sydney.edu.au