New nurse-led protocols for stroke patients, based on ACU research, led by the Nursing Research Institute, have resulted in changes to policy, guidelines and clinical practice in Europe and Australia. The protocols were developed through the Quality in Acute Stroke Care (QASC) Trial (published in the Lancet, 2011) to manage fever, hyperglycaemia and swallowing (FeSS) post-stroke.
Professor Sandy Middleton FACN, FAAN is a Professor of Nursing and Director of the Nursing Research Institute at St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne and Australian Catholic University. She focusses on stroke and the way research can improve care, particularly analysing the way nurses can initiate care to improve patient recovery.
Professor Middleton was the lead investigator on the landmark NHMRC-funded QASC cluster trial that demonstrated decreased death and dependency following implementation of nurse-initiated protocols to manage fever, hyperglycaemia and swallowing post-stroke, winning multiple national and international awards including ACU’s Vice-Chancellor’s Staff Excellence Award, Excellence in Research and Research Partnerships in 2019. These protocols have been translated into 64 hospitals in 17 European countries and in adopted in 36 NSW hospitals. She has published in high impact journals including The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine.
Australian Health Journal spoke with Professor Sandy Middleton on these significant achievements in nurse-led acute stroke care.