Oncologist Dr. Belinda Yeoh and a patient

Departments

Funding to improve outcomes for antibiotic allergies and delirium patients

14 January 2019

Two Austin Health research projects have received funding from the State Government’s ‘Better Care Victoria Innovation Fund’ this week to enhance patient care.

The funding will help Austin Health clinicians test patients who have allergies or are resistant to common antibiotics such as penicillin and to look at ways to prevent delirium in patients.

Dr Jason Trubiano, Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship, Drug and Antibiotic Allergy Services, says the funding will identify whether patients still have allergies previously diagnosed with, or if they have developed resistance to the allergy.

The test can help us identify whether a patient is still allergic to the antibiotic.

If a patient is no longer allergic to the antibiotic, then we can start treating them with the appropriate medicine.

If the test comes back identifying that the patient is still allergic to the antibiotic, we need to identify other ways to treat them.

Dr Trubiano says that antibiotic allergies are not uncommon, but most allergies are generally low risk and can be treated using a single test.

Up to 25 per cent of all hospitalised patients have reported an antibiotic allergy but we have found that more than 85 per cent of these allergies can be removed by allergy testing.

Around half of the allergies are considered ‘low risk’ and can be removed by a single test procedure without having to do skin testing.

The project aims to improve access to first line antibiotics and therapies to help deliver better health outcomes for patients.

The second grant will go towards a project which aims to reduce hospital-acquired delirium by better identifying high risk patients and implementing a personalised delirium prevention plan.

Associate Professor Sue Berney, Manager Physiotherapy Department, says that hospital-acquired delirium can be prevented.

Approximately 40 per cent of delirium that occurs in hospital can be prevented. 

We will work with patients, families and carers to design ways to use strategies that have been demonstrated to help prevent delirium.

We will also develop program to provide additional support for patients at risk of developing delirium.