The number of older adults (OAs) presenting to emergency departments (ED) will continue to rise over the years. While the need for medical care in the ED is paramount, non-medical needs of OAs are increasingly recognised in both cognitively intact and impaired OAs. In other settings, non-pharmacological interventions (i.e. music, socially-assistive toys, and smart devices) have been shown to benefit OAs by reducing anxiety and agitation; and promoting comfort and relaxation. The Emergency Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital (ED PAH) has been supplied with smart devices, headphones, and socially-assistive toys that will be provided to OAs.  

There is however lack of evidence of the efficacy of non-pharmacological interventions for OAs in ED. Consequently a team of investigators in the ED (led by Dr Terry Nash – ED consultant) proposes to evaluate the feasibility and perceived impact of the supplied non-pharmacological interventions. Results of this study will inform a robust experimental study in this area.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The summer scholar will collect data from nurses about rationale for using non-pharmacological interventions, perceived impact, and operational challenges of the interventions. Similarly, patients will be asked about the usefulness of non-pharmacological interventions, perceived impact, and operational challenges of the interventions.  

The PAH ED places a strong emphasis on learning about the research process. Activities will include a) literature review, b) collection and analysis of data, and e) reporting and dissemination of findings. Minimum expected outcomes are a project report and presentation to the ED research group. All previous summer scholars have also made at least one conference presentation or poster.  Several have been co-authors on peer reviewed publications. Similar outcomes are expected in 2019-2020.

Suitable for:

Only a Nursing student who is currently enrolled on a full-time basis at UQ is eligible to apply for this project.  Furthermore, if applying for the Summer program, the student cannot be graduating in Semester two.


Project members

I am happy to be contacted by students prior to them submitting an application if they would like further information: