Mental health

The mental health team's program of research is focused on projects that respond to the mental health needs of individuals, families and the community across a range of healthcare settings. Research projects are situated within a philosophy of recovery and aim to:

  • provide evidence to guide clinical practice in mental health care settings
  • be responsive to the future roles of mental health professionals and the evolution of mental health nursing.

Our work facilitates collaborative relationships between nursing partners, mental health professionals, multidisciplinary colleagues and stakeholders. 

SPECIALISATIONS

empty chairs

Absconding

Absconding – patients leaving the ward/hospital without permission – is an issue of considerable importance in inpatient mental health settings. There is the potential for adverse outcomes, including harm to the consumer and disruption to treatment and recovery. This research has informed hospital policy and procedures in developing interventions to minimise absconding.

Recent projects

Examination of absconding behaviour by psychiatric inpatients.
Investigators: Muir-Cochrane, E, Gerace, A, O’Kane, D, Oster, C, Ash, D, Bowers, L.
Funder: Flinders University School of Nursing & Midwifery Industry Partnership Research Grants, Nurses Memorial Foundation of SA
Partners: Central Northern Adelaide Health Service
Dates: 2010-2013.

Nurse and consumer perceptions and understandings of absconding from inpatient care.
Investigators: Muir-Cochrane, E, Gerace, A, O’Kane, D, Oster, C, Jones, J, Simpson, A.
Funder: Flinders University School of Nursing & Midwifery Industry Partnership Research Grants, and Nurses Memorial Foundation of SA
Partners: Central Northern Adelaide Health Service
Dates: 2010-2015

Publications

Gerace, A., Oster, C., Mosel, K., O'Kane, D., Ash, D. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2015). Five-year review of absconding in three acute psychiatric inpatient wards in Australia. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 24(1), 28-37.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12100

Grotto, J., Gerace, A., O'Kane, D., Simpson, A., Oster, C., & Muir-Cochrane, E. (2015). Risk assessment and absconding: Perceptions, understandings and responses of mental health nurses. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(5-6), 855-865. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocn.12671

Muir-Cochrane, E., Oster, C., Grotto, J., Gerace, A. and Jones, J. (2013). The inpatient psychiatric unit as both a safe and unsafe place: Implications for absconding. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 22(4), 304-312. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2012.00873.x

Muir-Cochrane, E.C., Mosel, K.A., Gerace, A., Esterman, A.J. and Bowers, L. (2011). The profile of absconding psychiatric inpatients in Australia. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20(5-6), 706-713.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2702.2010.03553.x

Mosel, K.A., Gerace, A. and Muir-Cochrane, E.C. (2010). Retrospective analysis of absconding behaviour by acute care consumers in one psychiatric hospital campus in Australia. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 19(3), 177-185. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2009.00660.x

Mosel, K.A., Ziaian, T., Gerace, A. and Muir-Cochrane, E.C. (2010). An exploration of absconding behaviours from culturally and linguistically diverse psychiatric hospital patients in Australia. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, 3(2), 96-106. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17542863.2010.488324

A door locked with a numberic code

Seclusion, containment and physical restraint

The reduction or elimination of the use of containment measures in mental health care is a priority of Australian and international mental health services. Investigation into the use of seclusion and restraint can inform the reduction and potential elimination of these practices, guide best practice, and contribute to safe and ethical mental health care.

Current projects

Examination of the definition and use of chemical restraint in an acute psychiatric inpatient setting.
Investigators: Muir-Cochrane, E, O’Kane, D, Thompson, D, Gerace, A, Palmer, C, Dawson, S.
Partners: Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, SA Health
Dates: 2014-2015

An examination of the incidence and nature of Code Blacks across the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.
Investigators: Muir-Cochrane, E, Gerace, A, O’Kane, D, Palmer, C.
Partners: Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
Funder: Southern Adelaide Local Health Network and Flinders University
Dates: 2014-2016

The role of Assistants in Nursing (AINs) within hospital emergency departments.
Project investigators: Gerace, A, Muir-Cochrane, E, O’Kane, D, Palmer, C, Couzner, L.
Partners: Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
Funder: Northern Adelaide Local Health Network and Flinders University
Dates: 2014–2015

Recently completed projects

The use of restraint with inpatients in metropolitan hospitals in South Australia.
Investigators: Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane, Dr Adam Gerace, Dr Candice Oster
Funder: Department of Health and Ageing South Australia and Flinders University
Partners: Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, SA Health
Date: 2013-2014

Publications

Oster, C., Gerace, A., Thomson, D., and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2016). Seclusion and restraint use in adult inpatient mental health care: An Australian perspective. Collegian, 23(2), 183-190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2015.03.006

Gerace, A., Pamungkas, D.R., Oster, C., Thomson, D. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2014). The use of restraint in four general hospital emergency departments in Australia. Australasian Psychiatry, 22(4), 366-369. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1039856214534001

Muir-Cochrane, E. and Gerace, A. (2014). Containment practices in psychiatric care. In D. Holmes, J. Jacob & A. Perron (Eds.), Power and the psychiatric apparatus: Repression, transformation and assistance  (pp. 91-115). Surrey, England: Ashgate. http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781472417312

Muir-Cochrane, E., Oster, C. and Gerace, A. (2014). The use of restrictive measures in an acute inpatient child and adolescent mental health service. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 28(6), 389-391. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2014.08.015

A physiotherapist showing empathy

Empathy in mental health settings

Empathy has been consistently identified as one of the foundations of an effective therapeutic relationship and consumer recovery. Our work in this area examines empathy relationships between healthcare staff and consumers, and the processes and strategies used to understand others and to demonstrate compassion and concern.

Current projects

Empathy responses by nurses in acute care mental health settings.
Investigators: Gerace, A, O’Kane, D, Oster, C, Muir-Cochrane, E.
Dates: 2013-2015

Perspective taking and empathy in interpersonal interactions.
Investigators: Gerace, A, Day, D, Casey, S, Mohr, P.
Partners: Deakin University, Victoria
Dates: 2012-current

Publications

Gerace, A., Day, A., Casey, S. and Mohr, P. (2017). 'I think, you think': Understanding the importance of self-reflection to the taking of another person's perspective. Journal of Relationships Research, 8, e9 (19 pages). http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jrr.2017.8

Gerace, A., Oster, C., O'Kane, D., Hayman, C.L. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2016). Empathic processes during nurse-consumer conflict situations in psychiatric inpatient units: A qualitative study. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/inm.12298

Gerace, A., Day, A., Casey, S. and Mohr, P. (2015). Past experience and empathy: Does having similar past experience to another person make it easier to take their perspective? Journal of Relationships Research, 6, e10(14 pages). http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jrr.2015.6

Gerace, A., Day, A., Casey, S. and Mohr, P. (2013). An exploratory investigation of the process of perspective taking in interpersonal situations. Journal of Relationships Research, 4, e6, 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jrr.2013.6

Gerace, A., O'Kane, D. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2013). Hold my hand and walk with me: Empathy on the mental health inpatient unit. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 21(4), 47-49. http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=611890699162906;res=IELHEA 

Day, A., Mohr, P., Howells, K., Gerace, A. and Lim, L. (2012). The role of empathy in anger arousal in violent offenders and university students. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 56(4), 599-613. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0306624X11431061

A lecturer teaching students

Teaching and learning

Interprofessional education that integrates mental health and culture has been lacking in undergraduate health programs. This work involves the design, development, evaluation and dissemination of curricula to prepare students from a range of health disciplines in mental health assessment and management needs of Indigenous Australians and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

Current projects

Reshaping curricula: integrating culturally diverse/mental health online content to prepare work ready health professionals.
Investigators: Muir-Cochrane, E, Rigney, D, Gillham, D, Edmondson, W, Barkway, P, O’Kane, D, Levett-Jones, T, Rudd, C, McAllister, M, Wright, V.
Funder: Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), Department of Education and Training, Australian Government
Partners: Newcastle University, Edith Cowan University and Central Queensland University
Dates: 2014-2016

This project has created a website that showcases online resources developed as part of this project. These are aimed at undergraduate health students and focus on mental health and wellbeing for people from Indigenous, migrant and Chinese cultural groups, providing a better understanding about the negative impacts of stereotyping and stigma. For further information go to the website.

Older persons access to mental health care

Older persons with mental health problems may require input from health, aged care, and social care services, necessitating networked local services for effective care. This research examined the extent of existing linkages between services, the experiences of consumers and carers in accessing services in a rural context, and proposed recommendations for better linked care.

Recent projects

Together for the mental health care of older people (TMOP): Improving the network planning and management of integrated primary mental health care for older people in rural regions.
Investigators: Fuller, J, Muir-Cochrane, E, Associate Lawn, S, Reed, R, Dawson, S, Oster, C, O’Kane, D, Henderson, J, Gerace, A, McPhail, R, Sparkes, D, Fuller, M.
Funders: Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Nurses Memorial Foundation of S.A., and Flinders University
Partners: Southern Adelaide-Fleurieu-Kangaroo Island Medicare Local; Country Health SA Local Health Network Mental Health Services; Southern Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island Positive Ageing Taskforce.

Publications

Henderson, J.A., Dawson, S.K., Fuller, J.D., O'Kane, D., Gerace, A., Oster, C.T., Muir-Cochrane, E. (2017). Regional responses to the challenge of delivering integrated care to older people with mental health problems in rural Australia. Aging & Mental Health. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2017.1320702

Dawson, S., Gerace, A., Muir-Cochrane, E., O'Kane, D., Henderson, J., Lawn, S. & Fuller, J. (2016). Accessing mental health services for older people in rural South Australia. Australian Nursing and Midwifery Journal, 23(7), 50.

Oster, C., Henderson, J., Lawn, S., Reed, R., Dawson, S., Muir-Cochrane, E., & Fuller, J. (2016). Fragmentation in Australian Commonwealth and South Australian State policy on mental health and older people: a governmentality analysis. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1363459316644490

Dawson, S., Gerace, A., Muir-Cochrane, E., O'Kane, D., Henderson, J., Lawn, S. & Fuller, J. (2016). Carers’ experiences of accessing and navigating mental health care for older people in a rural area in Australia. Aging & Mental Health, 21(2), 216-223. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1078283

Fuller, J., Muir-Cochrane, E., Lawn, S., Reed, R., Dawson, S., Oster, C., O'Kane, D, Henderson, J, Gerace, A, McPhail, R, Sparkes, D. and Fuller, M. (2015). Together for the mental health care of older people (TMOP): Improving the network planning and management of integrated primary mental health care for older people in rural regions : Report to the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute.

Fuller, J., Oster, C., Muir-Cochrane, E., Dawson, S., Lawn, S., Henderson, J., O'Kane, D., Gerace, A., McPhail, R., Sparkes, D., Fuller, M. & Reed, R. (2015). Testing a model of facilitated reflection on network feedback: a mixed method study on integration of rural mental healthcare services for older people. BMJ Open, 5(11), e008593. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008593

Fuller, J., Oster, C., Dawson, S., O'Kane, D., Lawn, S., Henderson, J., Gerace, A, Reed, R, Nosworthy, A, Galley, P, McPhail, R. and Muir-Cochrane, E. (2014). Improving the network management of integrated primary mental healthcare for older people in a rural Australian region: protocol for a mixed methods case study. BMJ Open, 4(9), e006304. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006304

Muir-Cochrane, E., O'Kane, D., Barkway, P., Oster, C. and Fuller, JD. (2014). Service provision for older people with mental health problems in a rural area of Australia. Aging & Mental Health, 18(6), 759-766. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2013.878307 

 

 

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:

Dr Adam Gerace
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