19 April 2018

The GMRF Innovation Grants is proof you don’t have to wear a white lab coat to conduct life-changing research.

This annual grants program, made possible by GMRF donors, empowers staff at Greenslopes Private Hospital (GPH) to use their first-hand experience to enhance clinical outcomes. Thanks to our supporters, we are making a significant and measurable difference to the health of patients and staff.

One of the great strengths of the grants program is that it recognises the array of specialties and backgrounds here at GPH. A perfect example of this diversity is the application we received last year from the hospital chaplain, Petra Milaudi.
As part of her role as Coordinating Chaplain, Petra offers support to patients and families following amputation and colorectal surgeries. She has observed that even a completely successful surgery could lead to severe emotional and psychological struggles.

“I have received a lot of calls to support people post amputation or post colorectal surgery,” Petra says, “People understood the operation was required for their physical health, but they were in a state of anticipatory grief and anxiety over the unknown future.”

For amputations, Petra found many patients struggled with the thought of losing a part of themselves and what it meant for the future. For colorectal surgeries, which require the potentially indefinite use of colostomy bag, patients struggled with self-esteem and were anxious over the potential lifestyle impacts.

“I was seeing a common thread among these patients – grief and loss for the life that was,” Petra says.

Seeing the anguish associated with these surgeries deeply moved Petra and motivated her to apply for a GMRF Innovation Grant.

“The first step was to prove what I already knew. Research would validate my anecdotal evidence,” she says.

Awarded the grant at GMRF’s Research Awards Night in November, Petra is now in the process of recruiting participants to document their experiences following amputation and colorectal surgeries.

Petra hopes to implement processes enabling her to engage with patients earlier, before they reach a stage of deep bereavement. The research will include home visits, questionnaires, a telephone follow-up, and a patient diary.
“The goal is for each person to receive individual, tailored support for their journey in a way that is improving their overall wellbeing and allowing them to be heard,” Petra says.

“I am so grateful for this grant. I strongly believe we never know if it’ll be us or a loved one that may face this type of situation. I am in a position to help, and that’s what I plan to do,” Petra says.

These grants are made possible by the sponsorship of Thynne + Macartney, the support of Greenslopes Private Hospital, and our generous donors.

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