HOMEFREE helps children receiving treatment for infections to switch to oral antibiotics, resulting in a reduced hospital stay.
Curing Homesickness Limited through it’s partnership with Coles
Dr Brendan McMullan, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist and Microbiologist at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) saw huge potential in updating and improving hospital use of antibiotics in children. These drugs initially need to be given intravenously, when children are threatened by serious bacterial infections, and that requires a hospital setting. But kids can get out of hospital and go home once they’ve been safely transitioned onto oral antibiotics, which mums, dads and other carers are able to administer safely.
In 2016, Dr McMullan trialled a pilot program at SCH to investigate the intravenous (IV) use of antibiotics in children and explore any barriers that impede the transition between the use of IV and oral antibiotics in patients.
“The answer to that is not only about parents or carers being ok with administering oral antibiotics. It’s about doctors and nurses being able to identify, and feel professionally comfortable about, when the transition can safely take place,” Dr McMullan says. “It’s about taking away the barriers that can stop the switch while still ensuring kids’ infections are treated in a state-of-the-art way.”
The pilot program showed an almost 20% improvement in the time taken to switch to oral antibiotics, reducing hospital stay by up to a day. Now Dr McMullan hopes to refine and upscale the program to children across NSW, through a program called HOMEFREE.
HOMEFREE hopes to run in five hospitals of different sizes across metro and rural areas. This is particularly important for children in rural and remote areas, where travelling to and from hospital can be physically arduous for both children and parents as well as costly.
HOMEFREE now has the opportunity to widen their reach and have a greater impact on the way clinicians administer care for younger patients. Scaling up a tailored program based on this research will significantly reduce hospital stays, improve quality of antibiotic use, decrease costs of care and deliver greater quality of life for children with infections in hospital in NSW and beyond.
Hear more about HOMEFREE from Dr Brendan McMullan.
SCH’s Infectious Diseases local team
Dr Adam Bartlett, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist
Dr Clare Dyer, Research Co-ordinator
Australia-wide expert team
Prof. Cheryl Jones, Head of School and Dean, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney
Associate Professor Christopher Blyth, Associate Professor of Paediatrics, The University of Western Australia
Dr Pamela Konecny, Infectious Diseases Specialist, St George Hospital
Associate Professor. Lisa Hall, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, The University of Queensland
Dr Gabrielle Haeusler, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Physician, The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne
Associate Professor Penelope Bryant, Paediatric Infectious Diseases Physician and General Paediatrician; Medical lead of Hospital-in-the-Home, The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne