Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, NeuRA
NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow.
Conjoint Lecturer, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
+612 9399 1852
Dr Lara Harvey (BAppSc(Physio), MPH, PHD) is a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow in the Falls, Balance and Injury Research Centre at Neuroscience Research Australia and a Conjoint Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW.
Lara is an epidemiologist with interest and expertise in epidemiological methods, the analysis of large population-based administrative datasets including linked data, health economic evaluation and survey methodology. Her research areas of interest include population-based trends in injury and the evaluation of health care policies and health and safety-related regulations/legislation.
In 2015, Lara was awarded an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellowship to conduct a program of innovative large scale data linkage studies which aims to examine and prevent injuries in older people with and without dementia, and to optimise models care for people with dementia who have sustained a serious injury.
In addition, Lara has clinical experience of health issues and the health care system and a proven track record of policy development and implementation. She is the recipient of multiple awards including a Baxter Health Award and a NSW Premier’s Public Health Sector, Gold Medal for implementation of the NSW State Wide Infant Hearing Screening program (SWISH).
Lara is currently Treasurer of the Australian Injury Prevention Network, and is a member of the NSW Population and Health Service Research Ethics Committee.
Scalds from hot tap water are serious injuries that are potentially preventable by restricting the temperature of hot tap water delivery. In July 1999, regulations were introduced in NSW to require that all new hot water installations deliver water at temperatures not exceeding 50 degrees C to sanitary fixtures. This study investigates trends in hot tap water scald injury hospitalisations following the introduction of these regulations. Hot tap water scald cases for 1999-2007 were identified from hospitalisation data for all public and private hospitals in NSW. To investigate hot tap water scald hospitalisations over time, negative binomial regression analysis was performed. There were 845 hospitalisations for hot tap water scalds in NSW over the period of the study. Hospital admission rates for hot tap water scalds decreased by an estimated 6% (3.2-8.5, 95%CI) per year since the introduction of regulations. While those most at risk were infants, toddlers and the elderly, almost a third of hospitalisations were for adults (25-64 years). The majority of hot tap water scalds were sustained at home and a further 4% occurred in a residential institute or school. The majority of scalds were severe, and a quarter required admission for longer than a week. The introduction of regulations in NSW appears to have had a positive impact on the rates of hospitalisations for hot tap water scalds; however, scalds continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality. This highlights the need for a review of the scope and implementation of the existing regulations and ongoing education of the general public to the dangers of hot tap water.
Regulations to restrict the temperature of domestic hot tap water were introduced in NSW in 1999. This study investigates the impact of the regulations on the knowledge, attitude and practice of workforce professionals responsible for their uptake and enforcement. Telephone surveys were conducted with a random sample of 110 plumbers and 30 regulating authorities. Surveys were recorded, transcribed and coded. Written questionnaires were completed by 151 plumbing students. The regulations are well known and supported by the majority of plumbers, students and regulators; however 75% of plumbers reported customer dissatisfaction with them. Only a minority of plumbers (11%), students (7%) and regulators (27%) correctly appreciated the impact of a decrease in water temperature in reducing burns. This study identifies the need to improve plumbers and students' understanding of the safety issues underlying the regulations in order to promote more effective advocacy for homes not currently covered by the regulations, and to provide more public education to increase acceptance of them. As only houses built or substantially renovated after June 1999 are likely to have been impacted by the current regulations, there is a need to increase the scope of the regulations to include not only new installations, but also the replacement of existing heated water units if the goal of universal protection is to be achieved.
To determine the current level of knowledge of first aid for a burn injury and sources of this knowledge among the general population of New South Wales. A minority of people living in NSW know the optimal time for cooling a burn injury and other appropriate first aid steps for burns. This study demonstrates a gap in the public's knowledge, especially among non-English speaking people and older people, and highlights the need for a clear, consistent first aid message.