Dr. Matthew Wiens awarded a 5 year Canadian Institutes of Health Research Project Grant

Congratulations to Dr. Matthew Wiens, Assistant Professor who was recently awarded a 5 year Canadian Institutes of Health Project Grant valued at $1,526.175 to support his research project entitled “Smart Discharges in children over 5:  Expanding a personalized public health approach to improving discharge care in resource limited settings”

A lay summary:

In resource-limited countries, children who suffer from severe infections remain vulnerable for several months after initial recovery and hospital discharge. During this vulnerable period there is a high risk of recurrent infections, re-admission, and death, and these children may not return to their pre-illness level of functioning and quality of life. Children over five years old may be even more vulnerable during this time compared to younger children. Simple strategies like follow-up visits and healthy practices at home can improve recovery and survival. However, comprehensive strategies that can identify the most vulnerable across all age groups are lacking. To date, our team has developed tools that allow healthcare workers to identify those most at risk of dying after discharge among children under 5 years. Our team has also co-developed, with the Uganda Ministry of Health, a discharge-care program. This ‘Smart Discharges’ program applies a risk-based approach, where the child at highest risk receives the most intense form of discharge and post-discharge care. This care primarily consists of education and follow-up with community health workers. This approach is ideally suited to poor countries where healthcare workers and money are limited. In Uganda, our approach has improved discharge and post-discharge care for children under 5 years. Here, we will begin the process of integrating older children into our care framework by developing the tools that can identify older children who are at the highest risk of dying after discharge. We will also seek to understand how severe illness impacts the quality of life of these school-aged children. Finally, by talking with affected families and health workers, we will learn from their stories and experiences about the challenges and barriers faced in caring for their children.