Projects

All of our research projects align with La Trobes research focus areas. Specifically that of building healthy communities through the pursuit of equity, wellbeing and social inclusion in our communities.

Current Projects

Small Rural Health Research Team Partnership

The SMARRT partnership brought together a group of Victorian remote, rural, and community health services, with academic partners, to improve health outcomes for rural Victorian communities. The partnership saw remote, rural, and community health services coming together to lead on the health policy agenda through development of evidence based research, and application of that research to innovative practice.

Partners and funding bodies: Heathcote Health, Cobaw Community Health Service (Macedon Ranges), Rural Northwest Health, Robinvale District Health Services, Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital, Kooweerup Regional Health Service, The Kilmore & District Hospital, and Alexandra District Health

Duration: 2016-2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Jane Farmer
  • Catherine Morley

GP Osmotic

The GP-OSMOTIC study is exploring the future in type 2 diabetes management – Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). Being a part of the study will allow people with type 2 diabetes to try this new technology that provides a powerful tool for observing blood glucose patterns clearly and in more detail than ever before to guide rational treatment choices to improve glycaemic control. Reducing the burden on patients and providing reliable and meaningful data CGM can empower people with type 2 diabetes to make progress to optimal glycaemic levels, improving their health and reducing the risk of complications.

Partners: University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Nanyang Polytechnic Singapore and Imperial College London, Leicester University UK

Funding Body: NHMRC project grant through University of Melbourne

Duration: 2016-2019

Chief Investigators:

  • John Furler
  • James Best
  • David O’Neal
  • Jane Speight
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Kamlesh Khunti

Opportunities and Constraints for Asian female caregivers in Australia’s aged care industry

The study is looking at opportunities and constraints for female aged care workers of Asian descent in Australia’s aged care industry. The aged care industry is experiencing employment shortages and retention of workers. We would like to look further into the opportunities and constraints that exist for these female aged care workers and how they might bring valuable diversity skills to the aged care sector.

Funding Body: La Trobe Asia seed funding

Duration: 2018-2019

Chief Investigators:

  • Monika Winarnita
  • Irene Blackberry

Flying Doctor Telehealth Specialist Service

The research project will evaluate whether the Flying Doctor Telehealth Specialist Service (FDTSS) improves access to specialist services for small rural communities in Victoria using a mixed methods approach. The evaluation will include data on access to services, including analysis of de-identified Medicare data that will reflect use of health services such as GPs, allied health, specialists and hospitalisations prior to and during involvement with the service. Additionally, qualitative measures will be used to assess the patient and health services’ experience with the telehealth platform and specialist services.

Partners: Flying Doctor Telehealth Specialist Service and SMART partnership

Funding Body: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Victoria

Duration: 2016-2019

Chief Investigators:

  • Catherine Morley
  • Dan Douglass
  • Jane Farmer
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Sue Race
  • Kevin Mills

Ageing Bodies, Embodied Interactions and Social Inclusion

This ARC Discovery project aims to look at technology as a potential response to social isolation in later life. In particular, we aim to look at the appropriateness of the use of avatars and virtual reality for housebound and isolated older people. The project commenced in 2016, with Dr Steven Baker, a JRI graduate, being successful in obtaining the postdoctoral research fellow position on the project.

Partners: University of Melbourne, National Ageing Research Institute

Funding Body: ARC Discovery project

Duration: 2016-2019

Chief Investigators:

  • Frank Vetere
  • Jenny Waycott
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Thuong Hoang
  • Elizabeth Ozanne
  • Briony Dow

Let’s CHAT (Community Health Approaches To)-Dementia in Indigenous Communities

The high rate of dementia in some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is being targeted through five ground-breaking research projects that aim to boost dementia prevention, slow its onset and improve the lives of First Peoples living with the condition.

Funding Body: NHMRC

Duration: 2018-2022

Chief Investigators:

  • Dina Logiudice
  • Leon Flicker
  • Don Bessarab
  • David Atkinson
  • Mark Wenitong
  • Sandra Thompson
  • Edward Strivens
  • Kylie Redford
  • Kate Smith
  • (Irene Blackberryas Associate Investigator)

Scoping the skills and training needs of community care workers in rural localities

The demand for an appropriately skilled and committed aged care workforce in rural areas has escalated over several decades. Workforce estimates indicate a worsening of the current situation due to the ageing and imminent retirement of a large number of community aged care workers. Given that the current workforce will need to triple by 2050, there is an economic imperative to recruit and retain a sufficient local workforce going into the future. This problem is compounded by difficulties associated in recruiting and retaining younger workers. Community based care provision is reportedly more complex given the prevalence of chronic health conditions among this population. Industry and policy demands for high quality and cost effective care into the future correspond with current and projected workforce and skill shortfalls as well as reported dissatisfaction with current training courses. This project seeks to profile how this problem is experienced within the rural context of the Goulburn region, and to develop training models that provide community care workers with fundamental skills appropriate to address client complexity.

Partners: Westmont Aged Care Services, Alpine Health Services, Beechworth Health Service, Tallangatta Health Service and Corryong Health Service

Funding Body: Department of Industry, Science and Innovation

Duration: 2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Pauline Savy
  • Anne-Marie Mahoney
  • Shaun Hancock

Out of Home Care Project

This project evaluates a model of care (pathway) for Aboriginal children entering OOHC. The aim of the pathway is to improve the number of Aboriginal children entering OOHC accessing culturally appropriate and timely preliminary health checks, comprehensive health and developmental assessments by a multidisciplinary team, and subsequent development of health management plans.

Partners: Murray Primary Health Network (PHN)

Duration: 2017-2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Corina Modderman
  • Werner Vogels

Healthy and Resilient Together

Health Service-led community education and participation in the development of strategies that foster resilience and preparedness for adverse circumstances and disasters. The project is undertaken in Yackandandah and Beechworth.

Partners: Beechworth Health Service

Funding Body: Foundation of Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Duration: 2016-2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Pauline Savy

Well Ageing Vision and Engagement Wangaratta

This research seeks to identify what rural older adults expect from rural health and social care providers in relation to ageing in place, and how well this aligns with the views and perceived responsibilities of providers. This project is timely as a consequence of changing trends both in relation to rural population ageing, societal expectations of older age and shifting priorities associated with health and aged care delivery.

Partners: North East Health, Wangaratta, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, Rural City of Wangaratta, Central Hume Primary Care Partnership, Gateway Health

Funding Body: North East Health, Wangaratta, Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area and Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, East Division

Duration: 2016-2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Rachel Winterton
  • Turi Berg
  • Irene Blackberry

Improving Detection and management of dementia in older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders attending Primary Care (IDEA-PC)

This project will co-design, implement and evaluate a nationwide culturally responsive model of care that includes training for primary care professionals (including Indigenous Health Workers [IHWs]) to optimise the detection and management of dementia and Cognitive Impairment not Dementia (CIND) in older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (hereafter respectfully referred to as Indigenous). This project will be undertaken within current primary care health service pathways to support better care for people with dementia and CIND and their families and communities. We will collaborate with organisations that are directly involved with training and service provision including consumers, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs), Primary Health Networks (PHNs), Dementia Training Australia (DTA), and aged care

providers at state, national and international levels, to ensure translation and capacity building with the aim to optimise wellbeing for Indigenous older people with dementia, their families and communities.

Partners: University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia

Funding Body: NHMRC Boosting Dementia Research Grants

Duration: 2017-2019

Chief Investigators:

  • Dina Logiudice
  • Leon Flicker
  • Don Bessarab
  • David Atkinson
  • Mark Wenitong
  • Sandra Thompson
  • Edward Strivens
  • Kylie Redford
  • Kate Smith
  • Irene Blackberry

Webster Dementia Care: Co-designing dementia health services in Bendigo

The Webster Rural and Regional Dementia Care project is a three-year research initiative, funded through the bequest of Gordon Webster through Sandhurst Trustees and administered by La Trobe University. Through conducting evidence-based research, this project aims to improve dementia care pathways within rural and regional Victoria, with a specific emphasis on developing innovative and sustainable care for residents of Bendigo and surrounding regions.

Funding Body: Sandhurst Trustees

Duration: 2017-2020

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Jane Farmer
  • Pam Snow
  • Rachel Winterton
  • Marita Chisholm

Chronic Conditions Model of Care in Western Victoria

This research project will evaluate whether implementation of the Chronic Conditions Model of Care in Western Victoria will generate an improvement in health and wellbeing of people in rural communities living with one or more chronic conditions and reduce potentially preventable hospitalisations. A mixed method approach will be employed to assess client and partner satisfaction. Patients of Rural Northwest Health receiving the model of care will be asked to provide feedback via patient satisfaction surveys and consent to evaluation of de-identified data from health service records. La Trobe University (LTU) will lead the evaluation of the Chronic Conditions Model of Care provided by Rural Northwest Health (RNH). LTU researchers’ role is to evaluate outcomes of implementation of the new model of care as part of current best practice and usual care at RNH.

Partners: Rural Northwest Health

Funded Body: Western Victoria Primary Health Network

Duration: 2017-2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Kaye Knight
  • Ngaretta Melgren
  • Irene Blackberry

Virtual Dementia Friendly Rural Communities

The VERILY project is a stepped wedge cluster clinical trial of innovative online technologies to support carers of people with dementia in 12 rural communities across Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. In each community, we will implement three key initiatives: 1) volunteer-led support and mentoring hubs to assist older people to use online technologies; 2) an integrated website and mobile app that assists carers of people with dementia to identify and engage local services and to connect to other carers; and, 3) online video-conferenced carer peer support groups. We aim to recruit a total of 216 participants including carers of people with dementia, volunteers, and service providers. VERILY initiatives will be implemented and evaluated across 2018 and the project will culminate in June 2019.

Partners: Swinburne University, Newcastle University, Flinders University, Saskatchewan University Canada

Funding Body: Commonwealth Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund

Duration: 2017-2019

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Michael Bauer
  • Margaret Winbolt
  • David Perkins
  • Jennene Greenhill
  • Megan O’Connell
  • Debra Morgan
  • Catherine Morley
  • Jane Farmer
  • Clare Wilding

Completed Projects

Ageing Services and Supports in Rural Environments

The project was undertaken across two Australian states, Victoria and Queensland, and involved La Trobe University, Queensland University, and University of Alberta, Canada. This project identified the systems and services that best support the wellness of older people living in rural communities and to better understand this relationship.

The study consisted of four stages – demographic analysis, quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews and finally the integration of data. The demographic profiling of rural communities across the two states identified six diverse study sites. This was followed by the quantitative survey which was administered to 266 participants aged 65 years or older across all six sites. Data was collected about access to community services, social networks, participation in community groups, health and wellbeing, plus some basic demographic questions. The qualitative interview stage has recently begun and will explore these themes in greater detail with 60 of the survey participants. The final analysis included the integration of data across the six study sites and a comparative analysis with our Canadian colleagues. The study findings provided a robust evidence base to inform existing policy frameworks about how best to meet the diverse needs of older people living in Australia’s rural communities.

Partners: Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, Uniting Care Queensland, and South West Hospital and Health Service Queensland

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC)

Duration: 2012-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Rachel Winterton
  • Maree Petersen
  • Martin Bell
  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Norah Keating
  • Turi Berg

Enhanced care pathway for older people in rural area

The ageing population and epidemic of chronic diseases present significant challenges to the Australian healthcare system. The research gap lies into innovative ways to a systematic, consistent and standardised approach to implementing 75+HA in busy general practices. The project improved the utility and impact of the 75+HA comprehensive geriatric assessment. The incorporation of risk stratification, an action plan and referral pathway options will allow older Australians at high risk of hospitalisation and frailty to access the appropriate services and resources in a timely and efficient manner. This issue is even more critical in rural areas where workforce and health services are limited. The project utilised a realist synthesis review method to elucidate primary care based comprehensive geriatric assessment.

Partners: University of Melbourne Department of General Practice, National Ageing Research Institute, Melbourne Health, and Nijmegen University

Funding Body: Building Healthy Communities Research Focus Area

Duration: 2015-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Pauline Savy
  • John Furler
  • Renee Melis
  • Kwang Lim
  • Virginia Lewis
  • Briony Dow
  • Karrie Long

Transition Rural Aged Care Service

The challenges associated with moving into care settings holds particular salience in rural locations, where over one third of all older Australians live, and where there are important financial and logistic barriers to the delivery of health and aged care services. In Victoria, the majority of these in rural Victorian locations are small facilities run by local health services and are threatened with financial viability. Overall, this scenario presents significant challenges for frail older people transitioning to residential care in rural settings. In this project we undertook an international scoping review of transitions to residential care in rural areas, with particular attention to international models of rural care provision. It enabled us to identify gaps in practice and make recommendations re future provision. We also undertook a series of focus group consultations with key stakeholders (local service providers, allied health practitioners, older people and their families) using a place-based approach. This enabled us to understand the specific underpinnings of transitions to rural residential aged care from different perspectives.

Partners: College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University and Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Funding Body: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

Duration: 2015-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Rachel Winterton

Analysis of the PBS and MBS data of the Australian Epilepsy Longitudinal Survey

The project aimed to examine the out of pocket expenses of a self-selecting sample of people with epilepsy and to determine the sociodemographic, health, seizure and comorbidity profile of different out of pocket expense groups. In addition the study aimed to interrogate the Medicare and PBS data to identify recorded epilepsy consultations, comorbid conditions and the mix of epilepsy and other medicines used by this sample of people with epilepsy.

Partners: Chronic Illness Alliance and University of Melbourne

Duration: 2011-2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Chris Peterson
  • Christine Walker
  • John Furler
  • Mark Cook
  • Samuel Moran
  • Loretta Piccenna

Understanding the determinants of potentially avoidable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) hospital presentations and admissions: exploration of consumer experiences

This research aimed to identify the determinants of potentially avoidable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) hospitalisations and re-admissions to Albury Wodonga health service (AWH) with the overarching goals of exploring how well AWH is performing against best practice guidelines and using this information to explore how our COPD clients may be better managed in collaboration with surrounding health and primary care services.

Partners: Albury Wodonga Health

Funding Body: Murray Primary Health Network

Duration: 2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Anna Moran
  • Janet Chapman
  • Glenda Chapman
  • Sally Squire
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Guin Threlkeld

Local government discourses on active citizenship and ageing in rural communities

This project identified how older people’s rights and responsibilities within rural spaces are conceptualised within local government strategic plans for ageing. A critical discourse analysis (CDA) of Victorian rural councils’ positive ageing plans was undertaken, to identify what local governments expect older adults to contribute to their rural communities. Significantly, this analysis explored what policy dictates that older adults can expect in return, from the perspective of access to local government services and support.

Funding: La Trobe University Transforming Human Societies Research Focus Area Grant

Duration: 2015-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Rachel Winterton

Improving care for older people with dementia in rural area

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area. Nearly 1.5 million Australians are currently affected by dementia, including families and carers. The number of Australians with dementia is projected to 900,000 by 2050 with around 70% living in the community. There is little evidence in rural community service provision and it is unclear what the primary support needs of people with dementia and their carer’s are in a rural setting. This 12-month project will: (1) build a systematic consensus about the key support needs for people with dementia and their carer’s in a rural setting; and (2) identify existing evidence-based service responses to those needs. Collaborating partners supporting our proposal include Rural Northwest Health (in-kind part-time project manager), and Alzheimer’s Australia (to assist with recruitment of people with dementia and carers). An expert reference group (ERG) comprised of consumers; CEO Rural Northwest Health; Department of Health and Human Services; Director of the Victorian/Tasmanian Dementia Training Study Centres, international experts in the provision of dementia friendly communities and systems will guide the project.

Partners: Rural NorthWest Health

Funding Body: La Trobe University RFA BHC and NorthWest Rural Health Service

Duration: 2015-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Michael Bauer
  • Deidre Fetherstonhaugh
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Jane Farmer
  • Catherine Morley

Housing affordability and homelessness in the Hume Region

This project draws on ABS CENSUS data and agency data to provide a comprehensive analysis of issues relating to housing affordability and homelessness within the Hume region of Victoria.

Partners: Hume Region Homelessness Network

Duration: 2017

Chief Investigators:

  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Darren Stonehouse

Service Navigation for Dementia in Rural Communities (SENDER) app: A pilot

SENDER is a prototype app for smartphones and tablets that helps rural people who are caring for someone with dementia to find the services they need and to connect to other carers and service providers. It can be challenging for carers to locate services within a fragmented health system and rural carers may be isolated by geography. The development of novel online technologies provides new solutions to these pressing problems.

Using aspects of whole-of-community-based action research and mixed methods for data gathering, this project was beta-tested and developed the SENDER app. During a 2-month testing phase, app users (carers and service providers) trialled the app in real-life contexts and provide feedback about the app’s usefulness, effectiveness, and user friendliness. Feedback was used to further refine and develop the app.

Partners: Rural Northwest Health Service, Heathcote Health Service, Department of Computer Science and Information Technology La Trobe University, Swinburne University, Telstra Digital Solution Program, Saskatchewan University Canada.

Funding Body: Building Healthy Communities Research Focus Area

Duration: 2016-2017

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Catherine Morley
  • Dan Douglass
  • Torab Torabi
  • Debra Morgan
  • Anne-Marie Mahoney
  • Jane Farmer

The relationship between rural living and wellness: what services and supports do older people need?

Although the Australian population is ageing faster in rural areas than elsewhere, little is known of the systems that best support their health and wellbeing. By recognising the diversity of older people and rural places, this research will provide essential evidence to address our government partners' challenge of delivering sustainable and appropriate services across rural Australia.

The research will also result in international comparative data and outcomes through our collaboration with the University of Alberta, Canada; and provide excellent research training and experience for three early career researchers.

Partners: Victorian Department of Health; UnitingCare Queensland, Roma Health and Hospital Services; University of Alberta.

Funding body: ARC Linkage project

Duration: 2013 - 2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Martin Bell
  • Suzanne Hodgkin
  • Norah Keating
  • Maree Petersen
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Jill Wilson
  • Rachel Winterton

Telehealth in gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) affects 1 in 7 pregnant women. Optimum blood glucose levels (BGL) produces better maternal and foetal outcomes. Our trial in the urban setting showed telehealth significantly reduced time to achieve glycaemic target without compromising the quality and safety of care. We propose to examine telehealth in rural areas where access to diabetes care is limited. We will undertake preliminary work to establish (1) feasibility and acceptability of telehealth for GDM by exploring patient and health providers’ perspective on telehealth, and (2) how telehealth can be embedded as part of routine care in rural setting.

Partners: Bendigo Health, Melbourne Health, University of Melbourne

Funding Body: Research Focus Area Understanding Disease

Duration: 2017-2018

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Tshepo Rasekaba
  • Jessica Triay
  • Kwang Lim
  • John Furler

Lower Hume Region ‘Your diabetes: your say’

This project sought consumer feedback to gauge satisfaction with diabetes-focused community services and to assist with future planning to improve access, integration and quality of diabetes care across the Lower Hume Health Region.

Partners: Lower Hume Primary Care Partnership

Funding Body: Lower Hume Partnership

Duration: 2015-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Irene Blackberry
  • Pauline Savy

Rural to urban migration among Chinese older people in Beijing and its impact on aged care

This project contributed to the geographical gerontology literature be exploring the motivations for and experiences of, rural to urban migration among Chinese seniors. The number of rural older adults relocating to urban areas to access care from families or care for grandchildren is increasing in China due to higher rural-urban service inequality and family migration to cities for employment. This research explored how the changing nature of family care provision in increasingly modernised Chinese cities will impact on the health and wellbeing of older rural-urban migrants.

Partners: Beijing Normal University

Funding Body: China Studies Research Centre, La Trobe University

Duration: 2016-2017

Chief Investigators:

  • Rachel Winterton
  • Irene Blackberry

Improving care for older people with dementia in rural areas

Dementia is a national health priority area. Nearly 1.5 million Australians are currently affected by dementia, including families and carers. The number of Australians with dementia is projected to be 900,000 by 2050, with around 70% living in the community. There is little evidence in rural community service provision and it is unclear what the primary support needs of people with dementia and their carers are in rural settings. This 12-month project built a systematic consensus about the key support needs for people with dementia and their carers in a rural setting, and identified existing evidence-based service responses to those needs.

Partners: Rural North West Health

Funding Body: La Trobe University RFA BHC and Northwest Rural Health Service

Duration: 2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Michael Bauer
  • Deidre Fetherstonhaugh
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Jane Farmer
  • Catherine Morely

On a wing and a prayer: a birdwatching intervention in rural residential aged care

The project aimed to develop and evaluate a native bird-watching activity that is being implemented in rural residential aged care settings. The project involves pre and post evaluation of residents' wellbeing using a wellbeing / quality of life screening prior and after participating in the activity, a conversational interview and resident observation. The project also involves exploring the views of staff and family/carers around the impact of the activity.

Partner: Hume Department of Health Social Connectedness program

Funding body: Hume Department of Health

Duration: 2014 – 2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Sharon Hanna
  • Jenny Indian
  • Anne-Marie Mahoney
  • Jeni Warburton

Influences on service and support decisions among ageing rural CALD populations

The ageing of CALD residents in rural and regional locations poses some issues in relation to the provision of appropriate services and supports. Stakeholders experience difficulties in providing appropriate care for CALD populations, which reflects differences in terms of belief systems, attitudes and expectations related to ageing and caregiving, and language proficiency, which can restrict access to information and services, communication and participation within the community.

In the rural context, issues relating to geographical isolation, poor access to culturally competent health services, and reduced use of Home and Community Care (HACC), exacerbate this. Thus, work is required to better understand how ageing CALD populations in rural areas make decisions about services and supports, both within and external to HACC, that will enable them to age in place.

Thus, this research will identify the factors that influence service and support decisions for ageing rural CALD populations in north-east Victoria.

Partner/funder: North East Multicultural Association (NEMA)

Duration: 2014 - 2015

Chief Investigator:

  • Rachel Winterton

Social Connections for Healthy Ageing: Hume Region

Based on her prior work, Prof Warburton is providing input into the rollout of this program, and particularly around the development of the toolkit to be used by projects funded under this initiative, and assistance with the evaluation phase in 2015.

Funding body: Hume Department of Health

Duration: 2013 -2015

Chief Investigator:

  • Jeni Warburton

Development of an online evaluation tool for peer support groups for people with chronic diseases

The project aims to develop an evidence-based online evaluation tool for peer support groups. The use of quality indicators and frameworks in the online evaluation tool will enhance health professionals' confidence to refer their patients to peer support groups. A literature review will be undertaken to identify quality indicators of best practice and good outcomes and framework to evaluate peer support groups.

We will also consult with peer support leaders, local health professionals, Medicare Locals and Primary Care Partnerships about essential quality indicators and framework that give them confidence to refer their patients to a support group and an evaluation tool for peer support groups to evaluate and to show evidence of their practice. Using Moodle, an online course management system, the IT consultant will design an online tool that is easy and simple to use.

The online tool will enable storage of de-identified data in an online database that provides reports to support groups and their members as well as enables benchmarking of the quality of their support groups delivery. The online tool will be piloted and evaluated in 5 peer support groups in metropolitan, regional and rural Victoria.

Partner: Chronic Illness Alliance and the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice

Funding body: Victorian Department of Health

Duration: 2014 - 2015

Chief Investigator:

  • Irene Blackberry

Telehealth to support structured monitoring to achieve targets for glycaemia in insulin-treated type 2 diabetes in rural primary care

People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) have the vast majority of their clinical care in general practice and primary care. Clinical care can help people achieve glycaemic targets, yet most patients continue to have out-of-target glycaemic levels without appropriate treatment intensification.

One reason GPs are reluctant to intensify treatment, initiate and up-titrate insulin is that GPs and patients lack a simple and reliable method for structured self-monitoring of blood glucose (S-SMBG), to guide decisions. These problems are exacerbated in rural and remote areas with limited access to Endocrinologist and Credentialed Diabetes Educator-Registered Nurse (CDE-RN) support.

Addressing this issue through the use of new technology is the focus of our proposal. Our proposal is to pilot the feasibility and acceptability of a telehealth intervention to enhance care in rural general practice for people with out-of-target T2D.

Partner: Chronic Illness Alliance and the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice

Funding body: Australian Primary Health Care Institute Foundation

Duration: 2014 – 2015

Chief Investigator:

  • Irene Blackberry

Research into spiritual wellbeing as a platform to establishing an Indigenous Research Hub at LTU A-W

This research is aimed at exploring the meaning of spiritual wellbeing amongst both Indigenous and non-Indigenous older people.  This is the first stage of the development of a program of research based on the Albury-Wodonga campus aimed at building local Indigenous research capacity. The project is highly innovative drawing as it does on different forms of knowledge. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Funding body: SHE College and Indigenous Strategy Unit

Duration: 2014 – 2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Pettina Love
  • Jeni Warburton

Placemaking and rural retirement migration: motivations, practices and processes

This project critically investigates placemaking practices undertaken by retirement migrants within rural communities. Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with retirement migrants residing in six diverse rural communities, located in peri-urban, agricultural and amenity settings.

Findings will explore the motivations of rural retirement migrants to undertake placemaking activities within their communities, and the types of activities that they subsequently undertake. Significantly, it will also identify which community and external systems and structures that they engage with to undertake these placemaking activities, and their expectations from these systems and structures.

This research is significant in that it will allow a critical exploration of how retirement migrants create and recreate rural places, while providing insight into how retirement migrants can be better supported and utilised.

Funding body: La Trobe University, under RFA Reforming Human Societies

Duration: 2014 - 2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Edgar Burns
  • John Martin
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Rachel Winterton

Investigating the health benefits of volunteering by seniors

For humanitarian and economic reasons, it is important to promote health-enhancing behaviours among older people to optimise their well-being. Volunteering constitutes one such behaviour. While there is some evidence that older people benefit from volunteering, there is inadequate data for policy development purposes.

This project will quantify the physical and mental outcomes of seniors' engagement in volunteering activities to assess the potential to enhance their health while providing much-needed labour inputs to the Australian economy. The results will also suggest ways to encourage older people to engage in volunteering by identifying effective ways to communicate the benefits to this audience.

Funding body: ARC Discovery

Duration: 2014-2016

Chief Investigators:

  • Ben Jackson
  • Rob Newton
  • Simone Pettigrew
  • Jeni Warburton

Chronic kidney disease prevalence and management in type 2 diabetes in primary care

This project utilises large dataset of over 10,000 people with type 2 diabetes from nearly 500 general practices in Australia. This project aims to determine whether the prescribing of non-insulin anti-hyperglycaemic medications in general practice is consistent with current Australian guidelines for treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in people with renal impairment.

Partner: University of Melbourne, Monash University

Funding body: Shepherd Foundation through University of Melbourne

Chief Investigators:

  • Jo-Anne Manski-Nankervis
  • Simon Bell
  • Irene Blackberry
  • Phyllis Lau
  • John Furler

Tracking the impact of insulin in people with T2D in general practice: The Stepping Up Cohort study

This project observed the long-term diabetes trajectories of General Practice-based insulin initiation and titration from patient and health system perspectives based on our Stepping Up cohort of adults with T2D. Our cohort is ageing, obese, has multiple comorbidities, mild depressive symptoms and elevated HbA1c, placing them at high risk of developing costly diabetes-related complications. The follow-up of this cohort allowed us to assess the impact of prolonged hyperglycaemia, insulin initiation and up-titration in General Practice on patients’ outcomes, health service use and downstream costs. We undertook a qualitative study, allowing in-depth exploration, for the first time in Australia, of the experiences of people with T2D as they become established users of insulin in General Practice. This cohort study offers an opportunity to link diabetes trajectories among this high risk group and the underlying patient, practitioner and health system factors affecting intensification of treatment with insulin to reduce hyperglycaemia.

Partner: University of Melbourne Department of General Practice, Chronic Illness Alliance and Diabetes Australia Victoria

Funding body: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Diabetes Australia Research Trust

Duration: 2014-2015

Chief Investigators:

  • John Furler
  • Doris Young
  • James Best
  • Irene Blackberry
  • David O'Neal

Stepping Up: A cluster randomised trial of team based transition to insulin in primary care for poorly controlled T2D

Type 2 diabetes is a costly epidemic condition that frequently requires insulin as it progresses. While people with type 2 diabetes have 80% of their clinical care in general practice, initiation of insulin is often significantly delayed in primary care. ‘Stepping Up’ is a pragmatic trial of an intervention to facilitate General Practice-based insulin initiation in people with suboptimally managed T2D who are on maximum oral therapy. This is high priority translational research that is essential to implement a known efficacious intervention (insulin therapy) in the primary care setting, where most people with diabetes receive the majority of their care. This study is premised on the idea that the only feasible, sustainable and generalisable setting within which to develop comprehensive and effective evidence-based models of care for type 2 diabetes is in community based General Practice with support from endocrinologists and Credentialed Diabetes Educator - Registered Nurse (CDE-RN).

Partners: University of Melbourne Department of General Practice and Diabetes Australia Victoria

Funding Body: National Health and Medical Research Council and Roche Diagnostics

Duration: 2012 - 2015

Chief Investigators:

  • John Furler
  • James Best
  • Doris Young
  • Elizabeth Patterson
  • Irene Blackberry
  • David O'Neal

Effective Community-based Physical Activity Interventions for Older Adults Living in Rural Areas: A Systematic Review

This systematic review formed stage one of a new project area around increasing physical activity in older people living in rural and regional areas. The review explored existing community-based interventions designed to increase physical activity participation among older people (aged 65 years or more) living in rural or regional areas. A journal paper discussing outcomes from the review is in press (Journal of Aging and Physical Activity). Presentations are also being made at AAG Conference in November, 2015. Using knowledge from the review, it is intended that Stage two will involve piloting an intervention to increase physical activity in older residents living in local community.

Funding Body: LTU Sports, Exercise and Rehabilitation Research Focus Area

Duration: 2013-2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Melissa Moore
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Paul O'Halloran
  • Nora Shields
  • Mike Kingsley

Towong Alliance Positive Ageing Project

This project focused on the hard-to-reach young-old (baby boomers) who live in isolated valleys in rural Towong Shire. It aimed to explore ways by which these individuals can be connected with rural health and aged care services in a timely manner. Data collection involved a series of qualitative interviews with both local community members and key community stakeholders.  A final report was distributed to Towong Health Alliance, and key outcomes were presented at the ILOP evaluation day, November 2013. Findings have been incorporated into an international comparative paper, and submitted to Sociologica Ruralis, October 2015.

Funding Body: Towong Health Alliance / Improved liveability for older people in small towns (ILOP) group, and a local philanthropic organisation, The Shine On Foundation

Duration: 2013-2014

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Melissa Moore
  • Louise Kaye-Smith

Enabling the community care workforce in rural areas to address the needs of those ageing in place

This project aimed to explore issues associated with obtaining a suitable and well-trained workforce to care for those ageing in rural communities. The JRI partnered with Riverina Institute of TAFE in this multi-stage research funded by the IRT Foundation. We started with a case study approach to selecting sites across the Riverina region, and then Interviewed (1) TAFE educators; (2) community aged care managers; (3) recently vocationally trained graduated working in these agencies. Findings have been prepared into one article already submitted, and a conference paper to be presented at the AAG Conference in November 2015.

Funding Body: IRT Research Foundation Grant

Duration: 2013-2014

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Anne Lowe
  • Pauline Savy

Meals on Wheels: Building towards a new social experiment for our times

This three year Australian Research Council project aimed to provide new models of volunteering for a traditional volunteer service, Meals on Wheels. The project was implemented across three years and three stages. Stage One comprised an international review and evaluation stage (article published in International Journal of Social Welfare); stage 2 comprised interviews with key managers and MoW leaders; Stage 3 comprised a national survey rolled out across all Australian MoW services. Two further papers have been produced (one published in Voluntas; and one ready for submission); as well as 2 book chapters. We have also presented the findings at several conferences, the AAG Conference, the Australian Social Policy Conference, the IAGG Conference in South Korea, two Meals on Wheels Conferences; as well as at seminars and workshops with meals and aged care service providers.

Funding Body: ARC Linkage Grant

Duration: 2010-2013

Chief Investigators:

  • Mary Oppenheimer
  • Jeni Warburton

Rural City of Wangaratta Community Base Aged Care Assessment Services Mapping

This project involves exploring community-based aged care assessment processes within the Rural City of Wangaratta in order to inform the development of a collaborative and effective assessment process, and to develop recommendations to support service improvements in aged care assessment. The project involved a number of stages. The first stage involved an analysis of assessment tools (published in Australasian Journal on Ageing); and the second involved interviews with assessment practitioners across services (in press with Gerontological Social Work).

Funding Body: Central Hume Primary Care Partnerships Special Projects

Duration: 2011-2013

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Sue Cowan

Rural retirement migration: Exploring the challenges and opportunities for local governments and communities

This small project follows on from the Rapidly Growing Grey project completed at the end of 2011. The focus here is on retirement migrants who move to rural communities; with a two stage process. The first stage is a secondary analysis of patterns of migration; and the second phase involves interviews with a sample of retirement migrants. Findings from this research have been presented to local governments and at international ageing conferences. Currently one article and one book chapter have been produced from these findings, with two additional publications currently in advanced stages of preparation.

Funding Body: La Trobe Institute for Social and Environmental Sustainability

Duration: 2012

Chief Investigators:

  • Rachel Winterton
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Brad Jorgensen
  • John Martin

Influences on service and support decisions among ageing rural ethnic populations.

This research sought to identify the factors that influence service and support decisions for ageing rural ethnic populations in north-east Victoria. Interviews were conducted with 15 cultural advocates in the north east Victorian region. A report was prepared for the commissioning agency, and the findings are currently being written up for publication in an international journal.

Partners: North East Multicultural Association

Duration: 2014-2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Rachel Winterton

Securing the Future: Retention of Older Healthcare Workers in Rural Victoria

This research builds on findings from a PhD study, which comprised a large survey of health and aged care workers in the Hume health region. Three publications are either in press or under review from this study, including one on the specific findings from workers in aged care settings. This work involved a collaboration with Dr Sue Hodgkin from the La Trobe Rural Health School.

Duration: 2012-2014

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Sue Hodgkin

CHERISH: better, cheaper hospital care


CHERISH is a multi-methods research within a randomised controlled trial design to investigate whether the approach effective, cost-effective, transferable and scalable within our health system. This approach is consistent with the MRC Framework on Evaluation of Complex Interventions in Healthcare. Our strong multidisciplinary team of researchers and clinicians will combine expertise in health system redesign and geriatric care, supported by the economic analysis capabilities of AUSHSI. We have partnership support from 3 major hospital and health services and will engage with clinical and executive leaders to adapt and refine our implementation approach. Partnering with the Queensland Government and hospital and health services will engage policy and decision makers in the research process and assist the translation of findings into policy and practice.

Partners: Queensland Health, Harvard University

Funding Body: QLD Govt Accelerate partnerships grant

Duration: 2015-2017

Chief Investigators:

  • Alison Mudge
  • Nicholas Graves
  • Adrian Barnett
  • Anne Chang
  • Marilyn Banks
  • Kwang Lim
  • Ruth Hubbard
  • Nancye Peel
  • Prue Walker
  • Sharon Inouye
  • Susan Kurrle
  • Irene Blackberry

Developing and evaluating a toolkit to enhance social connectedness for older people

We have provided advice regarding the development of a toolkit to assist agencies in developing social connectedness projects with older people. The toolkit has been drafted and supplied to funded projects at different stages of their development. Respondents have been asked to provide feedback on the draft either via a short survey or via a series of focus groups.

Funding Body: Hume Health

Duration: 2013-2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton

Nurturing Spiritual Wellbeing among Older People in Australia: Drawing on Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Ways or Knowing

The meaning of spiritual wellbeing as a health dimension is often contested and neglected in policy and practice. This study drew on Indigenous and non-Indigenous methodologies to explore the existing knowledge around spiritual wellbeing and its relationship with health. A journal paper from this review is in press (Australasian Journal on Ageing). Presentations are also being made at AAG Conference in November, 2015.

Funding Body: Faculty of Health Sciences, and the Indigenous Strategy Unit, LTU

Duration: 2014-2015

Chief Investigators:

  • Pettina Love
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Mary Whiteside
  • Alan Crouch
  • Melissa Moore
  • Chontel Gibson

Recruitment and retention of volunteers for local HACC services

This research project involved a series of focus group discussions across western Sydney region with either current volunteers to the HACC program or those who were not currently volunteering. The aim of the study was to better understand issues of recruitment and retention in these diverse services. Findings from the project have been presented at the National Volunteer Conference, and have been produced as an article.  Prof Warburton presented the findings to the services and NSW government funders, as well as producing a Report.

Partners: Tri Community Exchange and Dept of Ageing, Disability and Home Care NSW

Duration: 2011

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton

Building sustainable ageing rural communities: A case study in northeast Victoria

Utilising case studies of two Victorian rural communities, this project explored how local governments and communities are responding to challenges associated with population ageing through systems of governance, as well as local health and social infrastructure. In doing so, it sought to explore barriers and facilitators to social participation for older people, from the perspective of both local stakeholders and older people themselves. Findings have been presented at a number of national and international conferences, to the communities involved, and at a forum attended by representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Planning and Community Development, Office for Seniors, and Municipal Association of Victoria. At the request of the Department of Health, a series of forums were also delivered to local councils throughout Victoria. A series of journal articles are currently being finalised, one is in press, and one has been submitted. Presentations are also being made at a number of conferences, including the AAG Conference in November.

Funding Body: LTU Institute of Social and Environmental Sustainability; Bendigo City Council; Victorian Dept of Planning and Community Development; Moira Healthcare Alliance

Duration: 2010-2011

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Rachel Winterton
  • John Martin

Loddon Mallee Small Towns Typology

This mapping project is designed to develop a more diverse and robust typology of small towns. Funding is currently being sought to extend this project across other sites.

Funding Body: Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development

Duration: 2012

Chief Investigators:

  • John Martin
  • Trevor Budge
  • Andrew Butt
  • Rachel Winterton
  • Jeni Warburton

Water tariffs and their implications for rural seniors

This pilot project explored the views, preferences and choices of older people in rural communities in the context of significant changes to the operation of water utilities. Findings show the importance of water to healthy ageing, and the depth of understanding of water issues by older people. A report has been finalised, a paper submitted to a special issue of Local Environment, and a presentation planned for the water policy conference, Tapping the Turn, later in 2012.

Funding Body: Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre; and LTU Institute for Social and Environmental Sustainability

Duration: 2011-2012

Chief Investigators:

  • Suzanne O’Keefe
  • Maureen Rogers
  • Jeni Warburton

Responding to the rural skills crisis: Modelling volunteer motivations and incentives to attract retired / semi-retired professionals to volunteer in rural areas

This three year Australian Research council project involves a partnership with Queensland University of Technology and the Queensland Department of Communities. The project is designed to develop a new model of recruiting newly retired or semi-retired professionals as short-term volunteers for much-needed rural areas. To date, the project has focused on the motivations and needs of potential volunteers, and a paper and two conference presentations have resulted from this phase of the research. The project is now turning to matching volunteers with rural councils to test the implementation phase. Trials will be held in both Queensland and Victoria over 2012.

Funding Body: ARC Linkage grant

Duration: 2009-2011

Chief Investigators:

  • Patricia Obst
  • Katy White
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Nancy Spencer

Intentional retirement communities in rural Victoria: A pilot study

This innovative pilot project will explore new forms of retirement communities as the baby boomers age in rural Victoria.

Funding Body: Institute for Social Participation

Duration: 2012

Chief Investigators:

  • Maureen Rogers
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Rachel Winterton

Developing a professional development and recognition programme for nurses within the Moira Shire

This is a new project being conducted with Moira Health Care and funded through the Department of Health Value Added Intervention Projects. The research involves the development, implementation and evaluation of a professional development and recognition program for nurses within the Moira Shire.

Partners: Moira Shire Health Services

Funding Body: Department of Health Value Added Intervention Projects

Duration: 2012-2013

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Pauline Savy

Non-metropolitan General Practitioners’ Experience of Change: demography, scope of practice, inter-professional practice and work-life balance

Two key challenges for the provision of accessible and equitable health services for rural residents are the recruitment and retention of the medical workforce and the preparation of this workforce for the changing nature and context of practice. An earlier study of non-metropolitan GPs undertaken by Guin Threlkeld identified a key attraction of non-metropolitan work was the wide scope of General Practice in this setting, including the opportunity for procedural work. Conversely, those who were attracted by this aspect of rural practice were less drawn to work with older patients and chronic illness. This workforce orientation is concerning in light of the ageing of the non-metropolitan population. These issues will be explored in depth in the current study. Findings will be significant for primary health policy, workforce recruitment and retention strategies, and training of General Practitioners.

Duration: 2009-2010

Chief Investigators:

  • Guin Threlkeld

The meaning of place to older people in rural communities

This study is designed to explore the advantages and disadvantages of rural living for older people, and specifically how they perceive their quality of life in rural communities. This is a critical area of research as rural areas comprise a large proportion of older people, both those who age in place and those who have in-migrated on retirement. This study will help build our understanding of these issues and particularly how older people manage rural disadvantage. As such, the study will provide important knowledge for future service provision and interventions. Outputs included conference presentations and publications.

Funding Body: La Trobe University Faculty Research Grant – Early Career Researcher

Duration: 2010

Chief Investigators:

  • Rachel Winterton
  • Jeni Warburton

Professionals providing skills as volunteers in rural areas

This is an ARC funded Linkage project in partnership with the Queensland Department of Communities, which has been developed in response to the rural skills crisis. The project aims to develop a theoretically derived model of retired professionals’ motivations to contribute as episodic volunteers to the social and economic development of rural Australia. Model development will be undertaken by a PhD student, under supervision of the three researchers. Once developed, the model will then be trialled and evaluated across two states, Queensland and Victoria, working with local councils to develop projects and incentives to encourage retirees with professional skills to assist with specific projects and enhance their sustainability.

Funding Body: ARC Linkage Grant with Queensland University of Technology and Queensland Department of Communities

Duration: 2009-2012

Chief Investigators:

  • Patricia Obst
  • Katy White
  • Jeni Warburton
  • Nancy Spencer

Models of social inclusion for carers in rural areas

A partnership has been formed with annecto-the people network, a not-for profit organization targeted at increasing social inclusion in older people, carers and people with a disability. In order to better assist annecto in providing services to rural older carers, the JRI was commissioned to complete a literature review evaluating models of care for isolated older rural carers. This comprehensive literature review identified the importance of social inclusion for rural older carers, explored barriers to social inclusion for this specific group, and identified a number of risk factors for social isolation. Outcomes included a report, a conference presentation and a published article.

Funding Body: annecto – the people network

Duration: 2009-2010

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Rachel Winterton

Workforce Mapping Project: Rural Public Sector Aged Residential Care Facilities

This major consultancy project extended over 11 rural aged care facilities across the region, and involved an extensive process of workforce mapping and observation. Findings were written up and submitted to the Department as part of their workforce planning process. Two papers have also been produced, one on the need for new approaches to research for workforces in aged care, and the second, a methodology paper describing the innovative approach utilised in the project.

This DHS funded project responds to the current and projected workforce issues affecting care delivery in high care public sector residential aged care services (PSRACS) in rural Victoria aged care services. These issues relate to difficulties in recruiting and retaining appropriately skilled staff to provide quality care of residents in high care PSRACS. In broad terms, the project set out to explore, document and profile the activities currently undertaken by the care workforce within a sample of PSRACS located in rural Victoria. Specifically, it provided the Department of Human Services with aggregate data about existing workforce roles and associated resident care activities to assist strategic workforce planning.

Funding Body: Department of Human Services (Aged Care)

Duration: 2009-2010

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Sue Hodgkin
  • Pauline Savy
  • Judith Ireland
  • Jane Downing
  • Jay McGough
  • Louise Kaye-Smith

Eden in Oz Project

The JRI worked in partnership with Tallangatta Health Service to develop a research agenda aimed at exploring the application of the Eden in Oz model in a rural setting. Maree Petersen (Professor Warburton’s PhD student from the University of Queensland) undertook some exploratory research into the Eden model and how it operates at Tallangatta.

This study involved (1) a short review of the Eden Alternative, the principles and its implementation; (2) interviews with Tallangatta staff to discuss implementation of the model; (3) production of a short report with recommendations for future research. A paper was also written from the findings, which was accepted for publication by the Australasian Journal on Ageing.

Funding Body: Tallangatta Health Service

Duration: 2009

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Maree Petersen

Life review and advance care planning in rural communities

This project is designed to develop and test an innovative intervention that integrates Evaluative Life Review and Advance Care Planning for older people in rural communities. Life reviews in various forms are increasingly used with older people to capture their key values, achievements, experiences, lifestyle, community contributions and social relationships. Evaluative Life Reviews can act as a starting point for elderly people living in small rural communities to explore their future hopes and their plans for end of life care and record these in an advance care plan.

Advance Care Planning (ACP) is a strategy that enables individuals to express their future wishes in a values-driven discussion about options related to medical treatment, desired place and manner of death, along with a decision for a substitute decision-maker in case the person is no longer able to explain their choices.

This project involved the development of a volunteer intervention in facilitating advance care planning. Volunteers were recruited, trained and evaluated in this role in an attempt to increase accessibility of advance care planning in rural communities. A final report and training guidelines were produced from the research, and submitted to Department of Health. To date, two conference presentations have also been produced.

Funding Body: Department of Human Services

Duration: 2009

Chief Investigators:

  • Annette Street
  • Guin Threlkeld
  • Jeanine Blackford
  • Mary Taylor

Developing a collaborative approach to ageing well in the community

This is an ARC Linkage project led by Professor Warburton and based in Queensland. The project aimed to develop and implement a model of local collaboration to respond to national policy goals concerned with the community’s capacity to age well. The model has been developed through an action research project based in two contrasting local communities, with the intention of exploring factors critical for the sustainability of such collaborative partnerships. This project has resulted in the production of eight papers, as well as presentations at conferences and policy forums, in this important policy area.

This ARC project has also supported a PhD student, Andrea Petriwskyj, who has completed and submitted her PhD, with Jeni Warburton as her principal supervisor (December 2009). Andrea’s topic area complemented the main project, and explored older people’s willingness to be involved in local governance, specifically local council activities. Andrea has also produced some significant outcomes from her study, including academic publications, conference presentations, as well as several student awards, including the COTA policy prize in 2008.

Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant in conjunction with Queensland Department of Communities, Gold Coast City Council, Ipswich City Council

Duration: 2006-2009

Chief Investigators:

  • Jeni Warburton
  • Michael Cuthill
  • Helen Bartlett
  • Jo-Anne Everingham
  • Andrea Petriwskyj

The Practice of Prostate Care Nursing

The Senate Select Committee on Men’s Health released in late May (2009), that “the Commonwealth Government expedite funding for the provision of specialist prostate care nurses, particularly in rural and regional Australia” (p 57). There has been little work published on this new and emerging specialisation in nursing practice.

A major objective of this project was to explore the role and scope of practice of nurses working with men who have prostate cancer in Australia, in particular those working in rural and regional contexts. A questionnaire was developed and mailed to nurses who had participated in prostate care education programs or were on a mailing list for urology nurses.

Data were gathered that described their demographic characteristics, educational background and continuing education, current role description, workplace characteristics, nature and scope of practice. A subset of respondents were also interviewed to further explore their role and scope of practice and to collect paradigm stories from their practice that illustrate their day to day practice.

As a consequence of the information obtained in the survey and interviews, a second objective was to develop an on-line resource for nurses caring for men with prostate cancer. This has particular relevance for nurses requiring continuing education in rural Australia.

Funding Body: Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

Duration: 2007-2009

Chief Investigators:

  • Annette Street
  • Elizabeth Watt
  • Jane Downing