Up to 5% of the population are affected by a wound at any given time. Established in 2018, RCSI’s Skin Wounds and Trauma (SWaT) Research Centre is building collaborations across the world aimed at generating research and outcomes that will positively impact patients, families, and services.
Based within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, SWaT is led by Professor Zena Moore, Head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery, with Professor Declan Patton as Deputy Director. The nurse-led Centre has a wealth of experience in tissue viability and wound care, pioneering research, epidemiological monitoring and working with patients and their families in the management of wound prevention and treatment.
The Centre was established to give greater visibility to the wound care research being undertaken in the school and the growing number of PhD students, grants received and peer reviewed papers.
Three years since its establishment, the Centre is thriving, with numbers of wound care PhD students growing year on year, as well as funding directly from national and international funding bodies and industry. The number of staff of the Centre has also grown to include a Lead Researcher, a Post-Doctoral Researcher, a Senior Post-Doctoral Researcher, a Senior Research Projects Manager and an administrator.
One of the key targets of the SWaT Research Centre is to generate more international collaborations with high-level wound care research centres. One such relationship is the SWaT Research Centre's collaboration with the National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Wiser Wound Care, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University in Australia. Professor Wendy Chaboyer is Director of this Centre, and she is a leading internationally renowned wound care researcher and educator and a Visiting Professor at RCSI along with her colleague Professor Brigid Gillespie, Chief Investigator in the CRE Wiser Wound Care team.
Both Centres collaborate on grant applications, with a particular interest in the earlier identification of pressure ulcer (PU) damage, damage that is unseen and undetected by normal, traditionally-used PU assessment tools. The goal is to establish earlier identification, through recognising unseen tissue damage as the precursor to later seen visual PU damage, as the way forward in how clinicians and carers identify and subsequently ramp-up interventions that will prevent PUs.
Resulting co-publications, especially systematic reviews in Q1 peer-reviewed journals, have generated a high level of exposure for both teams due to the quality of research and systematic review. The mutually developed outputs and ongoing research conversations has established trust between both teams, who are committed to a long-term relationship, working together to generate evidence that makes a tangible difference to wound care patients, their families and to service outcomes.
The ongoing work and new evidence generated through the collaboration has been integrated into the evidence taught as part of the postgraduate diploma in wound care delivered by the RCSI School of Nursing and Midwifery. The plan is to extend the provision of this high-level programme internationally. The partnership with the CRE in Wiser Wound Care will help to build what is currently a programme embedded in the most recent best practice evidence.