Announcement of Successful 2012 Tagged Grant Applications

Tagged grants are for researchers working on new or established research projects in a specific area of physiotherapy using ‘tagged’ funds.
All applications are subjected to a thorough assessment process by the PRF Grants Review Committee to ensure that PRF seeding grants are awarded to the most worthy studies each year. 

Development of a digital palpation scale for assessing muscle tension in the pelvic floor using the MyotonPro® device as the “gold standard” objective measure.

Dr Helena Frawley (Vic)

Pelvic floor muscle (PFM) dysfunction affects 20-50% of the entire population resulting in reduced quality of life and significant utilisation of health care resources. Altered PFM tension and pain often co-exist regardless of the source of the disorder (musculoskeletal, urological, gynaecological, colorectal or sexual); however, very little is known about the relationship between PFM tension and pain in these disorders.
There is currently no valid or reliable method of evaluating PFM tension. This study aims to use the Myoton Pro®, a tool that measures muscle function in limb muscles, to inform the development of a digital palpation scale of muscle tension. This scale can then be applied as a ‘stand-alone’ tool in clinical practice and research, to evaluate muscle tension more accurately than current digital methods. It also has the potential to be implemented by other health care disciplines working in the field of musculoskeletal disorders and persistent pain.

There are 3 parts to this study:
1. to investigate the feasibility of applying the Myoton Pro® to the PFM
2. to determine the reliability of the measurements obtained and establish a range of normal values of PFM tension
3. to develop and validate a digital palpation scale for use on peripheral and pelvic floor muscles

Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapy Group Tagged Grant
Amount awarded: $10,000

A randomised trial of therapeutic ultrasound for chronic rhinosinusitis in adults with cystic fibrosis

Mark Elkins (NSW)

Adults with CF and chronic rhinosinusitis will be randomly allocated to receive ultrasound or sham ultrasound in a hospital outpatient clinic, 6 times in 2 weeks. The primary outcome will be the severity of rhinosinusitis symptoms, measured using the 22-item Sino-Nasal Outcome Test after the treatment period. Secondary outcome measures will be peak nasal inspiratory flow, lung function, global rating of change, a generic health-related quality of life questionnaire, medication use, and adverse events. Measurements will occur during and 6 weeks after completion of treatment.
This study will determine whether therapeutic ultrasound reduces rhinosinusitis symptoms in adults with CF to a clinically worthwhile extent and whether any effect extends beyond the treatment period. Growing evidence indicates that sinusitis seeds the lower respiratory tract with infection, so an effective rhinosinusitis treatment may also have respiratory benefits, which are crucial for people with CF. Ultrasound use has decreased since it was shown to be ineffective for many conditions. If the study shows ultrasound is effective for CF rhinosinusitis, physiotherapists’ can apply their skills and this equipment to treat CF rhinosinusitis.

Jill Nosworthy Bequest Research Grant
Amount awarded: $10,000

Professional Practice Standards – cardiorespiratory critical care

A/Prof Shane Patman (WA)

This project aims to establish a framework of minimum standards of practice and education for physiotherapists working in critical care in Australia and New Zealand. The project will use a Delphi process - a structured, consensus based survey of key stakeholders to gather responses and generate a framework that encompasses a description of the areas of practice, skills and knowledge required. Approximately 30-50 stakeholders will be invited to participate, including experienced physiotherapists from clinical and academic backgrounds, and critical care medical staff. The initial Delphi questionnaire will be generated by the investigative team using existing literature and/or guidelines. Two or three Delphi rounds will be conducted over eight months until consensus is established. The resulting document will provide significant benefit to the physiotherapy profession by establishing a framework of consistent, consensus-based minimum standards for education and training of staff and/or students for practice within the critical care unit. The results will form a foundation of practice that can be evaluated, advocated and disseminated to ensure consistency of education and practice within this advanced area of physiotherapy practice and contribute to the optimisation, quality and safety of patient care.

Physiotherapists’ Registration Board of WA Research Grant
Amount awarded: $25,000