2022 Strategic Innovation Program Recipients

AAG would like to congratulate the following individuals on their successful applications for the 2022 Strategic Innovation Program:

Dr Claire Baldwin
Flinders University

Dr Claire Baldwin is a Senior Lecturer in Physiotherapy and researcher in the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University, and, a clinician at Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide, South Australia. The research that she leads and collaborates on is seeking to ‘help the most at-risk patients in hospital get moving’. Current research to address the problems that stem from physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour during hospitalisation, is focused at the systems level on the development of a comprehensive and accessible evidence-based guideline, and, at the individual level on personalised interventions from hospital to home.

Project: Developing a guideline to support older adults to sit less and move more during acute hospitalisation

Award: $29,978

Project Summary: This project will deliver a comprehensive practice guideline with recommendations on supporting older adults to sit less and move more when admitted to hospital for an acute illness.

A structured and best-practice approach with consumer and carer engagement will be used to identify high quality research and create the practice guideline. Older adults will be involved in the decision making in all project stages and alongside multi-disciplinary clinicians and health-sector partners, from guideline development to implementation.

Adults, and especially older adults, who spend time inactive, sitting, or lying in bed, when in hospital are at high risk of functional decline, acquiring new disabilities or limitations, being institutionalised, sustaining falls and other costly hospital-associated complications. With an ageing population, the impact of inactivity on individuals and health systems will continue to escalate. Guidelines that have been rigorously developed with authentic consumer and stakeholder contributions have great potential to influence clinical care and have wide-reaching impact on outcomes across health systems and geographical locations.

There are currently no guidelines that address the complex problem of inactivity in hospitals and cover people admitted with a breadth of conditions. Our guideline will incorporate understanding of the unique care needs and preferences of older adults and will be relevant to the majority of admitted patients in Australian hospitals.

Betty Sagigi
James Cook University

Betty Sagigi is the ACAT Coordinator and Assessor for the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area who has worked as part of the Thursday Island’s Primary Health Care Post-Acute Rehab and Aged Care Program within the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Services for the last 12 years. Betty is an integral part of the Healthy Ageing Research Team based at James Cook University and works across a range of projects focusing on the health and wellbeing of older adults living in the Torres Strait.

Project: Spreading the word: Research translation on ageing well for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Far North Queensland.

Award: $29,992

Project summary: We will produce podcasts about ageing well and dementia prevention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We have partnered with an audio media production company and a local Torres Strait radio station to deliver our podcasts through radio, podcast and other social media platforms. Social media use for getting health messages out into the community is a developing area and will give us the chance to see how well it works in our own communities. Our team has been working in the region over many years on ageing and dementia prevention and we are always trying to spread the word about these important health issues. Radio is one of the main ways that people find out about what’s happening in our communities, and we have been encouraged by locals to use radio to get our messages out.

This project also provides opportunities for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members to learn new skills around delivering innovative ways of getting health messages into the community. The team will work with our communities to write some scripts and then team members will record the podcasts with locals also being involved and the media company will help with the editing and podcast production.

We will evaluate what people thought of the podcasts and what they learnt from them.

If we are to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults in our communities, we need to find new and engaging ways of sharing health information.

Awarded in partnership with Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF)

Dr Joyce Siette
The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University

Dr Joyce Siette is a Research Theme Fellow at The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University. She is currently leading a program of research combining psychology, social psychiatry and public health to identify the social risks, causes and consequences of risk factors on dementia. Her research vision is to maximise the real-world value of research on reducing dementia risk, and to move us towards optimally effective digital interventions to support healthy lifestyles and quality of life in older adults.

Project: Co-developing digital interventions targeting dementia prevention for culturally and linguistically diverse older adults

Award: $29,945

Project Summary: Public health campaigns targeting lifestyle approaches towards brain health for older adults are promising. However, most campaigns do not target individuals from multicultural backgrounds and therefore do not resonate with CALD communities and/or achieve the desired result.

The Western Sydney district represents a large multicultural environment, with 54.1% of households speaking a non-English language (compared to the NSW average of 26.5%). In Western Sydney, Chinese communities are experiencing the fastest growth and represent the largest multicultural group. This project will work with older Chinese adults in Western Sydney to adapt a digital intervention program to encourage their engagement in healthy brain lifestyles and lower their risk of developing dementia.

This research will involve an iterative process – it will be conducted over multiple sessions with older adults, carers, consumers and healthcare professionals to identify and define acceptable features for an online prevention program. This project will expand on a previous successful intervention BRAIN BOOTCAMP and provide translated educational materials, physical prompts and a personalised brain health profile. Our approach will be entirely underpinned by a method co-designed with community members and participants to authenticate correct messaging and culturally appropriate materials, and develop appropriate prompts to address this group’s specific cultural nuances.

Findings will inform public health initiatives and contribute to the future application of appropriate, feasible interventions designed to reduce the risk of dementia for older Chinese adults residing in Australia.