Monday, February 14, 2011

ENHP, CETA to Engage in Translational Research with St. Francis Hospital

 Pictured at the signing of an affiliation agreement between the University and Saint Francis in June 2010 are (l-r): ENHP Dean Ralph O. Mueller; Christopher M. Dadlez, president and CEO of Saint Francis Hospital; University President Walter Harrison; and CETA Dean Lou Manzione

In response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) sent out to investigators at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and the University of Hartford last October, two projects have been selected for funding on a competitive basis. The RFP was funded through equal contributions of $25,000 from Saint Francis and the University of Hartford. Both proposals are exciting examples of how expertise from different fields can result in truly innovative and relevant projects that directly support the goals of the Institute for Translational Research in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions.

The following proposals were selected for funding:

SAFeR study: The Systematic Assessment of Fall Risk. Due to the high incidence of falls in hospitals, there is a need to develop better fall risk assessment tools. The Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) and Saint Francis Medical Center Surgery and Trauma have teamed up to develop a systematic assessment of fall risk for incoming patients. This project will identify professional clinician-identified and clinically relevant risk factors for in-hospital fall events. The possibility that the hospital room environment itself may be a contributor to falls will be included in the pilot study. Based on interviews and a comprehensive review of documented hospital falls, the project ultimately aims to create an evidence-based, clinically applicable, population-specific and modern hospital relevant fall risk assessment tool.

Team members: David S. Shapiro, MD, FACS (surgery, Saint Francis); Kevin Ball, PhD (physical therapy, ENHP); Colleen Desai, RN, MSN (trauma, Saint Francis); Adam Goodworth, PhD (physical therapy, ENHP)

Fall injury mitigation using floor pads. Some patients are at high risk for a fall; injury mitigation is an appropriate focus. To this end, the Department of Physical Therapy, ENHP; the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA); and Patient Care Services at Saint Francis Medical Center are working to find a floor covering surface that can mitigate injury when falls occur. The floor covering will be used around the beds of patients at high risk for falls. The project aims to first compare optimal and actual mechanical properties for floor pads and then to investigate the influence of pads on human balance control. Existing pads and a novel gel pad floor created by a local Connecticut company, Innovative Medical Products, will be tested in the lab and hospital as part of the pilot study.

Team members: Barbara Crane, PhD, PT (physical therapy, ENHP); Lorraine McCafferty, RN, MSN (Director, Critical Care/Telemetry, Patient Care Services, Saint Francis); Catherine Certo, PhD, PT (physical therapy, ENHP); Suhash Ghosh, PhD (mechanical engineering, CETA); Adam Goodworth, PhD (physical therapy, ENHP); James Bailey (President, Innovative Medical Products, Inc.)

This RFP was initiated as a direct result of the signing of a Partnership Agreement between Saint Francis and the University of Hartford in June 2010. Together, it is the partners’ intentions to fund these pilot projects in order to generate new focused research efforts that, within a year or so, will be suitable for the development of submissions to private, federal and state funding agencies through the Institute for Translational Research. The University-chartered institute serves as a college-wide umbrella for research activities by ENHP and other University faculty, students, and their community partners. The main rationale behind the creation of the institute in 2010 was the desire to integrate academic excellence and community engagement across all of ENHP's disciplines. Thus, the multi- and inter-disciplinary institute contributes to the University's stated desire to be a "private university with a public purpose," as well as an institution anchored in and focused on communities, be they local, regional, national, or international.

This research is conducted under the auspices of the Center for Health, Care, and Well-being and the Institute for Translational Research in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions.


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