On 25 October, the outstanding work of the dedicated team at the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care at Sydney Children’s Hospital (SCHN) was a joint winner of a prestigious NSW Health Research Award, presented by Minister Ryan Park, Minister David Harris, Secretary of Health Susan Pearce AM, and Acting Executive Director of NSW Medical Research, Anne O’Neill.
Professor Nadia Badawi, CP Alliance Chair of Cerebral Palsy Research and Medical Director Grace Centre, Children’s Hospital Westmead collected the award for ‘Research Based Care through the Neonatal Admission and Beyond’ with members of her team on behalf of the centre.
“Committing resources to the health and well-being of a child gives the best return on investment a nation can achieve. The nurses, doctors and allied health professionals in the Grace Centre provide a 24-hour commitment to get the best long-term outcomes for babies during their neonatal intensive care admission and beyond.
“The research, which is mostly supported by donors, has resulted in a world leading high survival rate and decreasing disability and given families the best possible start to their lives together,” said Professor Badawi.
This significant accolade demonstrates the team’s dedication to harnessing eHealth, health information, and data analytics to drive health and medical research and innovation and to meet the criteria; evidence-based care, research impact, partnerships and collaborations, and recognised impact.
The groundbreaking work involves a comprehensive program of research, supported by a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to neurodevelopment to achieve the best outcomes for babies born at risk of cerebral palsy and their families.
Their research tackled various aspects related to neonatal care, including the management of neonatal pain, involvement of fathers in the NICU, assessment tools for early detection of disabilities, measurement of long-term infant outcomes, and the enhancement of infant language development and bonding through reading. They also captured data on physiological and behavioural stress and provided education on developmentally supportive care.
The results are astounding. Within the last 30 years, the incidence of cerebral palsy in Australia has dropped 40%, and the long-term developmental outcomes have improved significantly. This research has led to sustained changes in clinical practice, with a focus on early detection and therapy support – both in the hospital and at home by providing specific training to parents.
The research conducted at the Grace Centre is largely supported by donors and has led to a world-leading high survival rate among newborns and a reduction in disabilities. Their research is transforming the lives of families, offering hope, and ensuring brighter futures.
Congratulations to the team on their remarkable achievements and on this well-deserved recognition!
For more information on the award: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/awards/2023awards/Pages/research.aspx
For more information on research at Cerebral Palsy Alliance: https://cerebralpalsy.org.au/research/