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Barwon Health / Research

(03) 4215 0000

Intensive Care

Research is a pillar of intensive care medicine.  It is essential to inform us how we best treat patients who are critically ill.  Conducting research in the ICU requires a careful and considered approach to the unique aspects of this environment. Our patients are often unconscious, with acute diseases that put them at high risk of dying. Their families are particularly stressed, and dealing with their own uncertainty while trying to advocate and support their loved one.  

Clinical trials currently underway at the Barwon Health ICU are investigating:

  • Respiratory support after cardiac surgery
  • Medications to prevent bone loss and fractures in the years after critical illness
  • Choice of antibiotics and steroids for treating pneumonia
  • Medication to prevent gastric ulcers during critical illness
  • Mobilising critically ill patients early in their treatment
  • Protein concentration of nutrition
  • Optimal blood oxygen levels to target
  • Shared decision-making for patients with life limiting illness
  • Effective management of extracorporeal life support

Barwon Health ICU is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society – Clinical Trials Group (ANZICS-CTG), and also conducts research that ranges from multi-centre clinical trials to observational studies, single site and healthcare registry studies.

Please reach out to the ICU research team if interested in collaborating, or for any further information.

Research Areas

Collaborating Organisations


Monash University - ANZIC-RC  La Trobe University

The George Institute for Global Health

Australia & New Zealand Intensive Care Society – Clinical Trials Group

College of Intensive Care Medicine


Research Team

Research staff

  • Michelle Horton, ICU Research Nurse
  • Jemma Trickey, ICU Research Nurse
  • Erfana Thashneem, Deputy Head of Research
  • Neil Orford, Head of ICU Research


Research Grants

  • 2023: AI Orford MRFF MNHS Grant: Generating new evidence to reduce complications and improve the safety and efficacy of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in patients with severe cardiac and respiratory failure: THE RECOMMEND Platform Trial. $2,985,992.73.
  • 2023: CI Orford MRFF: iCare – An interactive online portal to improve health and wellbeing for people living with complex cancers, and their informal carers: a Phase II randomised controlled trial. $826,731.86
  • 2020: CIA Orford MRFF RCRDUN Grant APP1199726: Bone loss prevention with zoledronic acid or denosumab in critically ill women – A randomised controlled trial. $1,905,282.70


Featured Publications

Eastwood G, Nichol AD, Hodgson C, et al for the TAME Study Investigators. Mild Hypercapnia or Normocapnia after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest. N Engl J Med. 2023 Jul 6;389(1):45-57. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2214552.
Hodgson CL, Higgins AM, Bailey MJ…Orford N, for the EXCEL Study Investigators on behalf of the International ECMO Network and the ANZICS CTG. Incidence of death or disability at 6 months after extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in Australia: a prospective, multicentre, registry-embedded cohort study. Lancet Respir Med. 2022 Nov;10(11):1038-1048. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(22)00248-X.
Milnes S, Hutchinson A, Kerr D…Orford N. Effect of communication skills training on documentation of shared decision-making for patients with life-limiting illness: an observational study in an intensive care unit.Crit Care and Resusc. 2023. Mar (25)1:20-26

Thackeray M, Kotowicz MA, Pasco JA, Mohebbi M, Orford N. Changes in body composition in the year following critical illness: A case-control study. J Crit Care. 2022 Apr 23;71:154043.

 Low Y, Lyon C, Lakey K, Finnis ME, Orford NR, Maiden MJ. Frailty is not independently associated with intensive care unit length of stay: An observational study. Aust Crit Care. 2021 Aug 27:S1036-7314(21)00106-5. doi: 10.1016/j.aucc.2021.06.012.
 Orford N. Grief After Suicide. 2020; 323(17):1720-1721.,piece%20together%20events%20and%20emotions.


Support Our Research

Participate in a Clinical Trial

To find out about clinical trials currently underway at Barwon Health, click here


Clinical trials require ongoing investment and there are several ways to support this amazing work.

You can make a donation today and contribute to an item on our research wish list, consider a bequest in your will, or establish a lasting legacy fund in your name. No matter what size, your philanthropic support with deliver an immediate impact.

To donate now or for more information and further discuss your support, please contact the Barwon Health Foundation.

Wish  List

  1. $2,000 will fund the purchase of IT software for data analysis and data presentation
  2. $5,000 will fund a -80 degrees freezer for storing biological samples
  3. $50,000 will fund the Project Coordinator who is essential to conducting of a planned Patient Related Outcomes Study.


Last Modified: Friday, 15 September 2023

Research Lead

Neil Orford 2023

Associate Professor Neil Orford, MBBS / FCICM / PhD

Senior Intensive Care Staff Specialist
Head of ICU Research

University Hospital Geelong, Level 4
Bellerine Street, Geelong 3220
Phone (03) 4215 1729