Management Science student receives John and Anne Benson Award 

 

Le Nguyen, a PhD candidate of the Department of Management Science, has been given a John and Anne Benson Award – one of up to four awards given to postgraduate students each year at Strathclyde to enable them to complete their course of study either where no other funding is available or for another purpose which will make a difference to their circumstances. 

Le is undertaking a research project “Hybrid health systems simulation modelling: controlling healthcare-associated infections”, supervised by Dr Itamar Megiddo and Professor Susan Howick

Her PhD is on modelling to control healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and contain outbreaks. She aims to develop a framework for hybrid simulation approaches to model healthcare systems and tackle the problem of HAIs, which pose a serious risk for patients and providers, increasing morbidity, mortality, and length of stay as well as costs to patients and the health system. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Le has been working closely with the Health and Social Care Partnership and care homes within Lanarkshire where Covid-19 has had a significant impact on.  

Le and other colleagues have used innovative modelling approaches to help clients understand and, crucially, mitigate the impact of Covid-19 for their residents and staff. The modelling work also helped them understand the impact of key decisions relating to the effects of testing of residents and staff, and the importance of using PPE in care homes.  

The work has been useful in providing assurance of the circumstances under which new admissions and visiting can be permitted. A key insight has been that attention should be prioritised towards larger care homes as the risk for them is greater.  

Le said, “Our research has helped them keep residents safe from harm, at the same time as implementing what are necessarily burdensome and disruptive safeguarding measures in a way which is risk-based and proportionate. 

“Our work has been recognised and used by the Scottish Government Research, Data, and Analysis Group, and the Social Care Working Group to inform their decisions at higher levels.  

“I have started the next step of my research on investigating the impact of staff working across multiple care homes on the spread of Covid-19 across these facilities and the effectiveness of interventions targeting this group of staff. The findings will be important to inform decisions on restrictions on staff movement between care homes. Such decisions need to balance the risk of Covid-19 spread and significant shortage of staff which will affect quality of care delivered to residents and compliance to infection control measures in this setting.” 

Le – who is in her final year of her PhD – is delighted to receive the John and Anne Benson Fund award which will go towards supporting her remaining studies on care home network modelling and hybrid modelling framework. 

Published: 16 June 2021



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