Health care for the older person

There are 3.34 million people in Australia aged over 65 (as at June 2013), a number which is predicted to grow to approximately 23% by 2041 (ABS 2013). Complex challenges arise with a diverse ageing population and collaborative efforts are required to address these challenges.

Research conducted by the Health care for the older person (HCOP) team aims to:

  • Improve the quality of care of older persons across settings and borders
  • Prevent disease
  • Improve quality of life and care
  • Develop the residential and community care workforce
  • Deliver effective education
  • Address inequity affecting the older person both socially and culturally
  • Address ageism.

Current research with industry enables knowledge to be transferred to where it most benefits the older person. Future collaborations, that will enable delivery of innovative solutions to this population, are welcomed.

The HCOP team conducts research within the framework of active and positive ageing, ageing in the home and, when that is not possible, within aged care settings.

 

SPECIALISATIONS

a woman being treated by a physiotherapist

Living well with complex conditions

Attaining quality of life in the face of chronic illness is challenging. Research in this area seeks to addresses the physical, emotional and spiritual needs for those with chronic illness.

Current projects

Resident as a consumer in residential aged care.
Investigators: Dr Evdokia Kalaitzidis, Assoc Prof Ann Harrington, Dr Anne Davies
Funders: Southern Cross Care, ACH, Flinders University
Dates: 2013-2015

End of life care pathway in the acute setting: family/carer perspectives.
Investigators: Dr Ingrid Belan, Assoc Prof Ann Harrington, Susan Heyes
Partner: Repatriation Hospital
Dates: 2012-2015

Understanding the experience of neo-vascular adult macular degeneration.
Investigator: McCloud, C.
Dates: 2014-2015

Carers experiences with home oxygen used for refractory dyspnoea in the community setting.
Investigator: Dr Katrina Breaden
Dates: 2014-2015

Patient safety for people with refractory breathlessness: the perspectives of patients and families.
Investigator: Breaden, K.
Dates: 2015

Recently completed projects

Macular degeneration – understanding the experience of macular degeneration and treatment.
Investigator: Dr Christine McCloud
Funders: FMH&HS
Dates: 2013-2014

Publications

McCloud, C., Harrington, A. and King, R. (2014). A pre-emptive pain management protocol to support self-care following vitreo-retinal day surgery. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23(21-22), 3230-3239 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12572

McCloud, C., Harrington, A. and King, L. (2014). A qualitative study of regional anaesthesia for vitreo-retinal surgery, Journal of Advanced Nursing. 70(5), 1094-1104. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jan.12263

McCloud, C., Khadka, J., Gilhotra, J. and Pesudovs, K. (2014). Divergence in the lived experience of people with macular degeneration. Optometry and Vision Science, 91(8), 966-974. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/opx.0000000000000320

 

A man, alone

Dementia

Research into dementia care is a health priority. Areas of research include cultural issues, carer burden, continence, behavioural management, restraint, person centred dementia care and end of life care, across settings and borders with local and international partners.

Current projects

Nurse-led evidence-based guidelines and tools for cognitive screening, dementia diagnosis & caregiver coaching – a mixed methods feasibility study in China and Australia.
Investigators: Lily Xiao, L, Fuller, J, Ren, H & Lian Y.
Funders: Third Military Medical University, FMN&HS
Dates: 2015-2016

Relatives’ perspectives on the use of antipsychotic medications for the treatment of behavioural and psychological symptoms in persons with dementia in residential aged care.
Investigators: De Bellis, A, Xiao, L, Belan, I.
Dates: 2014- 2016

Recently completed projects

Improving support for caregivers of people with dementia from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds by strengthening community care services: a pilot randomised controlled trial
Investigators: Xiao, L; Draper, B, De Bellis, A, Kyriazopoulos, H; Zesers, C; Wallace, T.
Funders: Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, and Flinders University
Dates: 2012-2014

Publications

Xiao, L., De Bellis, A., Kyriazopoulos, H., Draper, B. & Ullah, S. (2016). The effect of a personalized dementia care intervention for caregivers from Australian minority groups. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementias, 31(1), 57-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1533317515578256

McCloud, C. & Lake, S. (2015). Understanding the patient’s lived experience of neovascular age-related macular degeneration: a qualitative study. Eye, 29(12), 1561–1569. http://dx.doi.org/1038/eye.2015.167

Wang, J., Xiao, L., Li, X., De Bellis, A. & Ullah, S. (2015). Caregiver distress and associated factors in dementia care in the community setting in China. Geriatric Nursing, 36(5), 348–354. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gerinurse.2015.04.013

Wang, Y., Xiao, L. & He, G. (2015). A comprehensive approach to psychometric assessment of instruments used in dementia educational interventions for health professionals: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 52(2), 568-577. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2014.11.011

Xiao, D., Habel, L. and De Bellis, A. (2015). Perceived challenges in dementia care by Vietnamese family caregivers and care workers in South Australia. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 30(3),333-352. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10823-015-9264-y

Xiao, D., Wang, J., He, G., De Bellis, A., Kyriazopoulos, H. & Verbeeck, J. (2014). Family caregiver challenges in dementia care in Australia and China: a critical perspective. BMC Geriatrics, 14(6), 1369–1380. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2318-14-6

 

A woman of African ethnicity, using a laptop

Culture and spirituality

In Australia, 15% of people living in residential aged care were born in a country where a language other than English is spoken.

The importance of understanding the impact of culture and spirituality in health care provision is reflected in Standard 3.8 of the Aged Care Accreditation Standards.

Current projects

Cultural and spiritual life in residential aged care facilities.
Investigators: Harrington, A, Williamson, V, Goodwin-Smith, I, Leedham, E.
Partners/Funders: Anglicare, Southern Cross Care, and Flinders University
Dates: 2014-2015

Culture and spirituality of older Indigenous Australians – how is it maintained at two Urban Aboriginal aged care facilities in South Australia.
Investigators: Sivertsen, N, Harrington, A
Dates: 2015-2016

A partnership approach to fostering and evaluating the Dignity in Care Program.
Investigators: Xiao, L, Harrington, A, De Bellis, A.
Funders: Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and Flinders University
Dates: 2014-2015

Safe sleep space alternative for Aboriginal families
Investigators: Grant, J, Sivertsen, N
Dates: 2015-2016

Recently completed Projects

The culture and spiritual needs of residents in aged care.
Investigators: Harrington, A, Davies, A, Williamson, V, Morey, W, Congdon, K.
Partners/Funders: Resthaven Inc.
Dates: 2014

Publications

Broadhurst, K. & Harrington, A. (2016). A mixed method thematic review: the importance of hope to the dying patient. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(1), 18–32. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jan.12765 

Broadhurst, K. & Harrington, A. (2016). A thematic literature review: The importance of providing spiritual care for end-of-life patients who have experienced transcendence phenomena. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, vol. 33, no. 9, pp. 881-893. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049909115595217

Hamiduzzaman, M., De Bellis, A., Kalaitzidis, E. & Abigail, W. (2016). Factors impacting on elderly women’s access to healthcare in rural Bangladesh. Indian Journal of Gerontology, 30(2), 235-260.

Harrington, A. (2016). The importance of spiritual assessment when caring for older adults. Ageing and Society, 36(1), 1-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X14001007

Lian, Y., Xiao, L.D. & Ren, H. (2016). Implications from the social ecosystem theory for the patient-centered supporting system for caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease in China. Chinese General Practice, (Chinese), 19(9), 997-1001, 1005.

Harrington, A. (2015). The importance of spiritual assessment when caring for older adults. Ageing and Society, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 1-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X14001007.

 

Two older people riding bikes

Healthy Ageing

People are living longer than ever before. Staying healthy and active is important for optimal mental, social and physical well-being. The team recognises the need for research that encompasses the spectrum of issues associated with ageing so that evidence based information is available to guide decision makers.

Current projects

Grey Nomads, Women’s Health.
Investigators: Abigail, W, McCloud, C.
Dates: 2015

Macular Degeneration – Understanding the experience of macular degeneration and treatment
Investigators: Dr C, McCloud
Dates: 2015

Publications

 

McCloud, C. & Lake, S. (2015). Understanding the patient’s lived experience of neovascular age-related macular degeneration: a qualitative study. Eye, 29(12), 1561–1569. http://dx.doi.org/1038/eye.2015.167

McCloud, C., Harrington, A. and King, L. (2014). A pre-emptive pain management protocol to support self-care following vitreo-retinal day surgery. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23(21-22), 3230-3239. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12572

McCloud, C., Khadka, J., Gilhotra, J. and Pesudovs, K. (2014). Divergence in the lived experience of people with macular degeneration. Optometry and Vision Science, 91(8), 966-974. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/opx.0000000000000320

 

A clinician with a patient and afamily member

Workforce development

The Health Care for the Older Person team works with local and international partners in a number of collaborative projects in nursing workforce development.

Current projects

Developing the multicultural workforce to improve the quality of care for residents.
Investigators: Xiao, L, Willis, E, Harrington, A, Gillham, D, De Bellis, A, Morey, W, Jeffers, L.
Funders: Department of Social Services (Australian Government); Ageing and Service Improvement Programme
Dates: 2015-2016

Achieving a skilled and sustainable aged care workforce for Australia.
Investigators: NILS (National Institute for Labour Studies); Harrington, A, Xiao, L.
Partners: Kalyra Residential Care, Eldercare, LifeCare
Funders: ARC Linkage
Dates: 2015-2017

Evaluation of undergraduate nursing student awareness of their engagement in online learning activities and the influence on academic outcomes.
Investigators: Abigail W, McCloud C, Fitzgerald M, Ullah S
Dates: 2015-2016

Recently completed projects

After hours nurse staffing, work intensity and quality of care for aged care residents in rural public and community hospitals.
Investigator: Xiao, L.
Dates: 2013-2015

A health economic model for the development and evaluation of innovations in aged care: an application to consumer directed care.
Investigators: Ratcliffe, J, Luszcz, M, Crotty, M, Paterson, J, Gray, L & Cameron, I.
Funder: ARC Linkage.
Dates: 2011-2014

EBPAC – Clinical mentoring: from evidence-base to outcomes for older people
Investigators: Xiao, L, Davies, A.
Partners: Resthaven, Wesley Mission (Brisbane), Fullarton Lutheran Homes, Alwyndor Aged Care, Dutch Aged Care
Funders: Resthaven Inc
Dates: 2013-2014

Publications

DSS Newsletter 2nd Edn - March 2016 (PDF 622KB)

 

Chen, L., Xiao, L. & De Bellis, A. (2016). First-time stroke survivors and caregivers' perceptions of being engaged in rehabilitation. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(1), 73–84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jan.12819

Wang, Y., Xiao, L.D. & He, G. (2016). Health professionals’ competencies in the caring of people with dementia. Chinese Journal of Gerontology, (Chinese), 5(36), 2284-2286.

Wang, J., Xiao, L. & Li, X. (2016). Study on burden of family caregiver of patient with dementia in community and influencing factors. Chinese Nursing Research, (Chinese), 30(7), 786-790. http://dx.doi.org/10.3969/j.issn.1009-6493.2016.07.006

Morey, W., Pavelic, S., Habel, L., Adams, V., Xiao, L. & Verbeeck, J. (2015). Aged Care Clinical Mentor Model of Change: Six Steps to Better Practice: A Guide for Implementing Clinical Change through Workforce Development. Resthaven Incorporated, Unley, South Australia. 2015 Link: http://resthaven.asn.au/links/Publications/resthaven-ebpac-accm-guide-web.pdf

Ratcliffe, J., Lancsar, E., Luszcz, M., Crotty, M., Gray, L., Paterson, J. and Cameron, I. (2014). A health economic model for the development and evaluation of innovations in aged care: An application to consumer-directed care - study protocol. BMJ Open, 4, Article. e005788. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005788

 

CONTACT US

If you would like to discuss opportunities for research collaboration, are interested in gaining access to our research expertise, or would like to undertake a research higher degree with us, please contact:

Associate Professor Ann Harrington
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