Our Projects

We have produced research projects and publications that advance knowledge and promote quality improvement and consumer driven, evidence based practice in all areas of primary health, community health and aged care.

To search for projects go to Project database tab on the left.

Current Projects

Dementia Training Australia

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Australian Government
Start: 2016
End: 2019
Overview (include links / publications):

La Trobe University (ACEBAC) is one of six members of the Dementia Training Australia consortium. Funded by the Australian Government, led by the University of Wollongong and comprising of Alzheimer's Australia, La Trobe University, the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Tasmania and the University of Western Australia Dementia Training Australia aims to improve the quality of care and support provided to people living with dementia and their families through providing development opportunities for existing and future professional carers of people living with dementia across all care settings.

This is achieved through a dedicated range of courses, workshops, seminars, scholarships, support, and curriculum development that translates contemporary knowledge into practical, effective approaches to helping people living with dementia and their families.  Our programs are designed for health and aged care staff who provide care for people living with dementia such as general practitioners, nurses, aged care and dementia service providers, medical specialists, psychologists and psychiatrists, allied health professionals, and tertiary institutions.  Our goal is to enhance the knowledge and skills base of the current and future dementia care workforce, creating a nationally cohesive approach to dementia care.

Learn more


Team members (include internal/external): Margaret Winbolt, Chris While

CHAOP

Centre: ACEBAC

OPTIMISE – Collaborative Improvement of Primary Health Care Delivery to the Australian Refugee Community

Centre: CHSD

Funder: National Health & Medical Research Council

Start: 2016

End: 2020

Overview (include links/publications): OPTIMISE is a four-year research project funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Partnerships for Better Health Grants Scheme, which brings together academics and organisations from across the refugee health sector to develop and test innovative solutions to improve the delivery of accessible, coordinated and high quality primary care to refugees and asylum-seekers. Working in collaboration with Monash University, University of NSW, and a range of relevant partners, we are implementing and evaluating a model of practice facilitation across three regions in Australia that receive a high number of refugee and asylum-seeker settlement: North Western Melbourne, South Eastern Melbourne, and South-Western Sydney.

Partners in our region (North Western Melbourne) include:

North Western Melbourne PHN, cohealth (a large community health centre), AMES (Settlement Services), Department of Health & Human Services Victoria, and the Victorian Refugee Health Network.

Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis, Geraldine Marsh

Palliative Care and Advance Care Planning in general practice – a training package for Practice Nurses

Centre: CHSD
Funder: HammondCare and Hospitals
Start: 2016
End: 2020
Overview (include links/publications): Advance is a national, federally funded program designed to introduce advance care planning into general practices in a sensitive and routine way. It will also help identify people who may benefit from a thorough assessment of their supportive care needs and consideration of early referral to palliative care. HammondCare invited Associate Professor Virginia Lewis to offer external evaluation advice to the Advance project. As an external evaluator, Virginia has provided the project with:

  • Assistance with choosing an appropriate evaluation framework.
  • Advice and input regarding draft study design, draft evaluation protocol, draft ethics application documents, draft surveys, and draft qualitative interview questions.
  • Advice and input regarding the qualitative and quantitative analysis (to be conducted by the evaluation officer).
  • An independent review of the evaluation process.

As a consequence of this working relationship, Virginia is now a CI on a newly funded project with HammondCare and other collaborators from the University of Sydney, Flinders University (CareSearch), Austin Health, University of Queensland, University of Technology Sydney, and University of Wollongong. It will include:

  • Consultation with relevant health professional bodies to identify the highest priority groups of clinicians for the new program and to tailor the resources and training for their specific needs.
  • Development of online learning resources for the new groups of clinicians.
  • Individual tele-mentoring for participating clinicians from across Australia.
  • Grants and train-the-trainer support for champion networks to deliver face-to-face training and to support implementation of the model into clinical practice.

Evaluation of the program, Australian Government Department of Health, National Palliative Care Project. The Advance Project: Initiating palliative care and advance care planning through training and resources for primary and chronic/complex care clinicians.

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Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis

Innovative Models Promoting Access-to-Care Transformation (IMPACT) Centre of Research Excellence

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec – Santé
Start: 2013
End: 2018
Overview (include links/publications): IMPACT is a Canadian–Australian collaboration which brings together leading researchers in primary care, health services research and implementation science and communities of practice in six regions in Australia and Canada.  The purpose of IMPACT is to identify, refine and then trial ‘world’s best practice’ innovations to improve access to healthcare, particularly for vulnerable populations. Virginia Lewis is a Chief Investigator on the IMPACT CRE.

The IMPACT Centre for Research Excellence was established in 2013.

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Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis

Seniors Law – a Health Justice Partnership

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Victorian Legal Service Board
Start: 2015
End: 2018
Overview (include links/publications):

The Seniors Law Health Justice Partnership was established by Justice Connect Seniors Law and cohealth to provide assistance to older people experiencing elder abuse and other legal issues.

The service operates as an embedded model, with a lawyer based in the community health centre and acting as a member of a number of health teams where elder abuse is likely to be identified. AIPCA has been working with this Health Justice Partnership from the funding application stage and was involved at all stages—supporting monitoring and evaluation, developing the evaluation and monitoring framework, developing tools to be used for data collection from health professionals, pro bono lawyers, and clients, data collection, data analysis and report writing.

The HJP is seeking further funding for the service to operate beyond 2018.

Results from the evaluation will be reported in early 2018.

Learn more


Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis, Vanessa White

Aged Care Assessment Program

Centre: e-Health Unit
Funder: Department of Health Victoria
Overview (include links/publications):

Support for the Aged Care Assessment Program in Victoria, providing technical and system support for all assessment services/health services in Victoria in relation to My Aged Care

Team members (include internal/external): Janette Collier, Sharon Gibson

2015-2017

Advancing practice in the care of people with dementia

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Department of Social Services
Start: 2015
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): Part of the DTSC's National Practice Improvement Program, a project funded under the Australian Government's Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants. It will deliver a program of education and support to aged care providers to facilitate knowledge transfer and practice improvement in the care of people with dementia in four critical care areas: environmental design; sexuality and dementia; medication management; responding to behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

DTSC GP education component of Alzheimer's Australia project

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Department of Social Services
Start: 2015
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): Supporting GPs and practice nurses in the timely diagnosis of dementia. This project will respond to the Government's priority on improving timely diagnosis of dementia by delivering accredited continuing professional development training on dementia assessment, diagnosis and management to 6000 GPs and 2,500 practice nurses throughout Australia.

Evidence-based discharge intervention

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Nurses Board of Victoria Legacy
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): The development of an evidence-based intervention tool to improve hospital discharge practices for people with dementia and their family.
Team members (include internal/external): Michael Bauer

Using the Montessori Approach

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Australian Government Department of Health & Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): This project seeks to improve levels of engagement in purposeful activity for people living with dementia who attend Planned Activity Groups. With Alzheimer's Australia.
Team members (include internal/external): Jo Rayner

Victorian Residential In-Reach

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Department of Health and Human Services Victoria
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): An evaluation of the Victorian Residential In-Reach program, and hospital discharge planning, for people with dementia.

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Melton Brimbank Legal Service and Djerriwarrh Community Health Centre
Start: 2016
End: 2017
Overview (include links/publications): The Mortgage Wellbeing Service is a Health Justice Partnership (HJP) between Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre and Djerriwarrh Community Health Service. It has been providing a holistic service delivery model for people with mortgage stress in the Melton area since early 2015, implementing a joint intake model of a lawyer, social worker and financial counsellor. AIPCA was contracted to conduct key stakeholder interviews and analyse data to support the evaluation of the HJP.

Learn more

Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis, Vanessa White

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC

Centre: CHSD
Funder: The Lowitja Institute
Start: 2015
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): The provision of research and advisory services to support establishment of the Lowitja Cooperative Research Centre
Team members (include internal/external): Kate Silburn

Best practice in Spinal Cord Injury

Centre: CHSD
Funder: National Trauma Research Institute
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): Conduct of workshops to develop and implement clinical best practice in spinal cord injury.
Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis

CareSearch Project

Centre: CHSD
Funder: CareSearch
Start: 2015
End: 2017
Overview (include links/publications): A project to evaluate CareSearch: The Australian Palliative Care Knowledge Network.
Team members (include internal/external):
Virginia Lewis

Evaluation Framework for the Chief Executive Collaborative

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local, Doutta Galla Community Health, Merri Community Health Services and Melbourne Health.
Start: 2013
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): A project to bring together existing activities and provide a framework to support the overarching service and planning collaboration sought by the Inner North West Melbourne Medicare Local, Doutta Galla Community Health, Merri Community Health Services and Melbourne Health.

Evaluation of the Queensland Workplaces for Wellness Initiative

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Queensland Health
Start:
2013
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): The Queensland Workplaces for Wellness Initiative is a settings-based program which aims to engage and support Queensland workers to make positive and sustainable behaviour changes that reduce lifestyle related health risk factors and improve their health.
Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis, Jenny Macmillan, Geri Marsh

Mental Health Service System Community Partnerships Program

Centre: CHSD
Funder: St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne
Start: 2013
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): Advice and Support to Evaluation of Mental Health Services System Community Partnerships Program for Victorian Transcultural Mental Health
Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis

Positive Parenting Program

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Autism Spectrum
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): A project to support the evaluation of the current Positive Parenting Project and contribute to future planning.
Team members (include internal/external):
Virginia Lewis

Service Plan and Model of Care

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Ballarat Community Health Services
Start: 2015
End: 2016
Overview (include links/publications): A project to develop a service plan and model of care.
Team members (include internal/external):
Jenny Macmillan

Review of Transition Care Program

Centre: e-Health Unit
Funder: Department of Health Victoria
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): The e-Health Unit was engaged to carry out a review of the Victorian Transition Care Program (TCP) – first operational in 2006.

Key findings include:

  • The average TCP client now is slightly younger, more likely to live in the community and have a non-residential carer than those clients who entered TCP when it was first implemented (2006).
  • Victoria has the highest average TCP occupancy rate of all states in Australia.
  • The average length of stay within TCP has increased from 7.7 weeks to 9.1 weeks since implementation.
  • The impact of TCP on the acute care system can be seen in the reduction in the number of days older people wait in hospital for a residential care place.
    Client/carer experience surveys revealed that rural teams reported higher satisfaction ratings with the service than did metropolitan teams.
  • The most common theme throughout the stories from staff and clients was appreciation of the time TCP allowed the client and family to work through issues associated with long-term care decisions.
  • Discharge destinations to the community have increased slightly, and discharges to high-level residential care have decreased.
  • Overall, clients and their carers were satisfied with the type of support organised on discharge from TCP.

Team members (include internal/external): Janette Collier, Linda Muller

ACE HACC Software

Centre: e-Health Unit
Funder: Department of Health Victoria
Start: 2012
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): Maintenance, upgrading and further development services in relation to ACE Home and Community Care software.
Team members (include internal/external):
Janette Collier, Sharon Gibson

Active Service Model

Centre: Lincoln Centre
Funder: Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria
Start: 2014
End: 2016
Overview (include links/publications): A project to identify a suite of validated measures that can demonstrate change in client and carer status in a range of domains resulting from Victoria's ASM approach and test the measures on a sample of clients and carers, both before and after service delivery episodes of care.
Team members (include internal/external): Yvonne Wells

Ageing Data Story

Centre: Lincoln Centre
Funder: North East Primary Care Partnership
Start: 2015
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): The conduct of workshops and collection of information, and analysis of HACC and ACAP MDS data across three local government areas – Banyule, Nillumbik and Darebin.
Team members (include internal/external): Yvonne Wells

Residential Care Model

Centre: Lincoln Centre
Funder: Jewish Care (Victoria) Inc.
Start: 2014
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): An evaluation of the pilot of the Jewish Care Model of Care at the Mark and Dina Munzer Community Residence.
Team members (include internal/external): Yvonne Wells, Karen Teshuva

Outcomes of Case Management

Centre: Lincoln Centre
Funder: Baptcare
Start: 2015
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): A review of the literature to identify key outcomes of case management as a component of home care packages with older people, and potential measurement approaches.
Team members (include internal/external):
Yvonne Wells

Practice Approaches in Dementia Care

Centre: Lincoln Centre
Funder: Baptcare
Start: 2015
End: 2015
Overview (include links/publications): A review of the literature on practice approaches in organisation, client/resident assessment, carer, family and friends, care provision, environment and staff education.
Team members (include internal/external):
Yvonne Wells

2011-2014

Personalised MP3

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Southern Cross Care
Start: 2011
End: 2012
Overview (include links/publications): The aim of this project was to determine if and when an MP3 player is provided to informal caregivers of people with dementia, the use of the device by the person with dementia enables their caregivers to undertake activities that give them brief respite from the high level of vigilance often needed in caring for their family member, both at home and in public spaces. This project was conducted in collaboration with Southern Cross Care (Vic.) who funded the project. Findings from the study were launched in September 2013.

With the Centre for Health Systems Development.

Team members (include internal/external): Margaret Winbolt, Virginia Lewis

Alzheimer's Australia. Evidence-based online resource package

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Alzheimer’s Australia
Start: 2012
End: 2013
Overview (include links/publications): The development of an evidence-based on-line resource package to improve staff-family relationships for people living with dementia in residential aged care. With University of Tasmania and Griffith University.

Assessment documentation in residential aged care: Do facilities consider the sexual health and sexual needs of residents?

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University
Start: 2010
End: 2011
Overview (include links/publications): This research project sought to obtain baseline data on whether or not residential aged care facilities in Victoria provide residents with rights regarding sexual expression and sexual health.

Comprehensive Health Assessment of the Older Person

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Department of Health Victoria
Start: 2012
End: 2013
Overview (include links/publications): A previous project Strengthening Care Outcomes for Residents with Evidence (SCORE) funded by the Victorian Department of Health (Aged Care Branch) identified the need for public sector residential aged care services (PSRACS) staff to enhance their knowledge and skills in comprehensive health assessment (CHA) of the older person. The overall aim of this project was to address that gap and provide CHA of the older person knowledge and skills training to the PSRACS workforce, specifically the professional health workforce in rural locations. The learning resources developed included: a comprehensive education and training folder comprising eight modules, namely 1. Clinical reasoning and general assessment, 2. Communication of assessment findings and ethical, legal and professional ramifications, 3. Psychosocial assessment, 4. Nutrition, metabolism and elimination, 5. Assessment of the cardiovascular system, 6. Respiratory assessment, 7. Musculoskeletal assessment and 8. Assessment of cognition and perception; pre and post workshop activities; simulation mannequins and other assessment equipment; and licences for participants to use the Jarvis Physical Examination and Health Assessment DVD. The training delivered was interactive and included both the learning of assessment skills and the related theory in comprehensive health assessment. ACEBAC staff and experienced nurse educators delivered the training.

DCRC: Dementia Collaborative Research Centre

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Australian Department of Health & Ageing
Start: 2010
End: 2013
Overview (include links/publications): In collaboration with QUT, Griffith University, Alzheimer's Australia, Hammond Care, Curtin University: Responding to sexuality in residential aged care facilities; Families and acute care; Experience and processes for decision-making by direct care staff in residential aged care facilities when the person about whom decisions are to be made has a diagnosis of dementia; Social participation and carers of people with dementia (with the Institute for Social Participation); Everyday decision-making - the experience of people living with dementia; Knowledge translation; Quality of life and care for people with dementia in residential aged care facilities.

EN-ABLE

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Australian Department of Health and Ageing
Start: 2011
End: 2012
Overview (include links/publications): The EN-ABLE Project addressed the target area 'Behaviour Management' in residential aged/dementia care. It supported a key national health priority, 'Promoting and Maintaining Good Health' and the Department of Health and Ageing reform agenda 'Encouraging Best Practices in Residential Aged Care'. The aim of this project was to skill residential care staff to respond in person-centred, evidence-based ways to need-driven behaviours (NDBs), variously referred to as behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSDs) and Unmet Need Behaviours (UNBs) in the literature. The central project goal was to implement and evaluate the EN-ABLE education and training in residential aged/dementia care through an empowering staff support process.

Pain in older adults with dementia: Development of a tool to measure nursing staff knowledge and attitudes

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University
Start: 2010
End: 2011
Overview (include links/publications): This project constructed and evaluated a psychometrically sound tool to measure nursing staff knowledge and attitudes regarding pain in older adults (including adults with dementia) for use in the residential aged care setting. Access to pain relief is basic human right. The tool developed will be beneficial in identifying nursing staff knowledge deficits and negative attitudes that may be preventing staff from recognising pain in the older adults they care for, and preventing the older adult from receiving appropriate care, pain relief, and pain management. These areas of deficit can then be targeted in education programs for aged care staff and used to inform practice so that older people (including older people with dementia) can access the care to which they are entitled.

Factors influencing residential aged care staff decision-making when a resident's health deteriorates

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Department of Health Victoria
Start: 2012
End: 2014
Overview (include links/publications): A report on RACF staff decision-making, which outlines the role of RACF staff within the Victorian aged care system, highlights the connection between decision-making, workplace environment, workforce consistency and resident outcomes. It describes the challenges that exist with regard to the roles and responsibilities of RACF staff within the RACF setting.

Victoria and Tasmania Dementia Training Study Centres (previously TIME for Dementia): Training, Innovation, Mentoring and Education for Dementia

Centre: ACEBAC
Funder: Department of Health Victoria
Start: 2009
End: 2013
Overview (include links/publications): Funded by the Australian Government and hosted by ACEBAC, the Victoria and Tasmania Dementia Training Study Centre is one of five Dementia Training Study Centres nationally which aim to improve the quality of care and support provided to people living with dementia and their families through providing development opportunities for existing and future dementia care health professionals. This is achieved through a dedicated range of courses, workshops, seminars, scholarships, support, and curriculum development that translates contemporary knowledge into practical, effective approaches to helping people living with dementia and their families. Our programs are designed for health professionals and students who provide care for people living with dementia such as general practitioners, nurses, aged care and dementia service providers, medical specialists, psychologists and psychiatrists, allied health professionals, and tertiary institutions. Our goal is to enhance the knowledge and skills base of the current and future dementia care workforce, creating a nationally cohesive approach to dementia care.

Learn More

Assist and Support in Development and Implementation of an Evaluation Framework

Centre: CHSD
Funder: Australian Government Department of Health
Start: 2012
End: 2013
Overview (include links/publications): Development and Implementation of an Evaluation Framework for Commonwealth Suicide Prevention Activities. With Australian Healthcare Associates.
Team members (include internal/external): Virginia Lewis