2021 Strategic Innovation Program Recipients

AAG would like to congratulate the following individuals on their successful applications for the 2021 Strategic Innovation Program:

A/Prof Wendy Bower
The Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of 
A/Prof Wendy Bower, physiotherapist and researcher at Royal Melbourne Hospital and the University of Melbourne, is leading a research team investigating bladder symptoms at night in older people. They have developed a new screening tool TANGO, which aids the user in targeting the aetiology of nocturia and guides individualised treatment. Current work is addressing use of sub-acute hospitalisation to identify and assess nocturnal bladder dysfunction and to implement multidisciplinary care that improves symptoms and quality of life while also aligning with patient preference.

Project: PUNCH Study: Multidisciplinary approach to identifying and addressing unmet continence needs in hospitalised older people during sub-acute care.

Award: $28,000

Project summary: At least 50% of older people in hospital have urinary incontinence, a symptom known to lengthen the stay in hospital and threaten independent self-care. People who require supervision to walk safely have a higher risk of urinary incontinence. The aim of this study is to improve the experience of mobilizing ion by identifying urinary incontinence during the admission, beginning effective treatment and linking patients into mobilizing community services after discharge.

Physiotherapists review hospitalised patients who have mobility limitations and assist them to move independently. During therapy sessions patients commonly ask to use the toilet and frequently disclose urinary tract symptoms, including urinary incontinence. This study will train physiotherapists to include urinary incontinence questions in their assessment of older patients. Once urinary incontinence is recognised, ward staff will start a process to obtain information that identifies the cause of incontinence. Patients with urinary incontinence will then commence treatment whilst they are still in hospital. In most cases urinary incontinence severity can be reduced, or leakage cured. The urinary incontinence care pathway to be developed for this study will continue after discharge from hospital when care will be transferred to mobilizing continence services within the community and patients managed by expert clinicians, including physiotherapists.

This study will improve dignity and quality of life of older people with urinary incontinence, reduce dependence on others to reach the toilet and lessen the risk of falling. Beginning the process to improve bladder problems during the hospital stay is cost effective and adds minimally to staff workload.

Lauren Poulos
Neuroscience Research Australia

Lauren is a Biripi woman from NSW, with over 17 years’ experience in the Finance Services, and Not-for-Profit Industry. For the last 3 years, she has been a part of the Aboriginal Health and AGeing Program team at NeuRA as Project Coordinator on the Caring for Spirit Project. Lauren has managed this project which translates research into culturally relevant and accessible demntia informatino, education and training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Project: Evaluating the culturally responsive elements, effectiveness and transferability of online dementia education and training with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Award: $30,000

Project Summary: Dementia health literacy and education is a priority for research and translation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. Online dementia literacy programs and tools show great promise in enhancing the quality of and access to such education. The recently produced ‘Caring for Spirit’ online dementia education and training resources have been codeveloped with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and health professionals by the current team at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA). These nationally relevant resources provide purpose designed, evidence based, culturally sensitive and approved information around ageing and dementia.

Over the past five years, the Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation (CHAC) in North West Tasmania, in partnership with the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre (University of Tasmania) has also undertaken extensive work around dementia education, training, and capacity building with community members. This has involved exploring options for formal health and aged care qualifications as well as participation in online training programs, including dementia-related Massive Open Online Courses.

This project aims to engage these community experiences around dementia education and capacity building through introducing the novel ‘Caring for Spirit’ resources in a planned way in the Circular Head Aboriginal community. We will evaluate the impact on dementia literacy and care practices whilst also evaluating the transferability and feasibility of using these resources in diverse community settings.

This collaboration between NeuRA, CHAC, and the Wicking Centre will enhance previous work with online dementia education across these organisations and provide a model for comprehensive dementia education with Aboriginal communities.

Awarded in partnership with Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF)

Dr Josefine Antoniades
National Ageing Research Institute 

Dr Josefine Antoniades is a Research Fellow at NARI in the Division of Social Gerontology. She was awarded her PhD in 2017 from the Department of General Practice at Monash University and her disciplinary expertise is at the nexus of psychology, public health and primary care. Framed by these disciplinary boundaries, her research interests include dementia, mental health and health literacy in culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Project: Development of the Moving Pictures GENIE on-line to support Culturally and Linguistically Diverse family carers of persons living with dementia

Award: $29,971

Project Summary: Disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic pose significant challenges for Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) family carers and people living with dementia. This is because infection control measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 have reduced access to health care, in-home services, and social interactions. These measures have been associated with worsening of dementia symptoms including increased behavioural and psychological symptoms. As a result, many CALD family carers, already experiencing poor mental health than their non-CALD counterparts, have reduced access to support and greater care challenges to grapple with on a daily basis in the context of a serious pandemic. Responding to these challenges, this project will co-produce with CALD family carers and service providers, the GENIE (Global dEmeNtIa rEsources): a world-first global online repository of dementia resources for CALD family carers caring for people living with dementia. GENIE leverages the national Moving Pictures project, which raises dementia awareness in CALD communities using film and digital media. It does this by mobilizing existing partnerships to undertake an environmental scan and expert consultation of existing resources, co-producing GENIE with pre-recruited CALD family carers, and locating GENIE on the mobile-optimised Moving Pictures website. Thus, GENIE is a user-friendly, digital repository of evidence-based, culturally appropriate resources about dementia care, offering support to otherwise isolated CALD family carers of people living with dementia.