2018 RM Gibson Program Recipients

AAG would like to congratulate the following individuals on their successful applications for the RM Gibson Research Fund Grant:

1] Elizabeth Lynch
Affiliation: University of Adelaide
Project Title: Identifying and addressing information needs of carers
Awarded $5,000
Aims of the project:

The aim of this research project is to pilot test a novel form of information provision for carers, using a case study of carers of people with stroke. We will work with carers to develop video stories to address information requirements for people who are new to the role of caring for a person with stroke. We hypothesise that the co-created resources (told by Australian carers, lasting 1-2 minutes) will be perceived as relevant and valuable by people new to the role of carer and that the information contained in the video stories will be easily understood regardless of carers' pre-existing health literacy levels. We also hypothesise the resources will be deemed relevant and important by undergraduate health professional students.

By co-creating resources with carers and using formats other than the written word, this body of work aligns with the nationally endorsed National Statement on Health Literacy. The developed resources are anticipated to address carers' information needs and may lead to subsequent health benefits i.e. reduce anxiety related to the caregiver role.

If the developed resources are found to be useful for carers of people with stroke and health professional students the same methodology could be used to develop resources for carers of people with other conditions such as dementia, arthritis and multi-morbidities.

2] Nathan D'Cunha
Affiliation: University of Canberra
Project Title: Effects of an art gallery intervention on stress and inflammatory responses in people with dementia
Awarded $5,000
Aims, Hypothesis, and Significance of Project:

This project aims to assess the effect of participation in the National Gallery of Australia {NGA) art dementia program on biomarkers of chronic stress and inflammation in individuals with dementia and to assess its effects on nutrition, cognitive function, behaviour, quality of life {QOL), and the potential benefits to caregivers.

Hypothesis: Participation in the NGA art and dementia program improves biomarkers of stress, inflammation, and QOL in persons living with dementia.

Significance: There is a lack of scientific evidence supporting low-cost, minimally intensive intervention programs aimed to promote social engagement and cultural enrichment in people with dementia that are supported by biological outcomes. The NGA art dementia program provides individuals with dementia opportunities to engage and interact with others and with artworks in a safe community-based setting. Moreover, the benefits to participants in the NGA program may also provide downstream effects to caregivers greater than the brief respite during the weekly visit to the NGA. To our knowledge, changes in stress, inflammation, cognitive function, behaviour, QOL, and potential benefits to carers have not been quantitatively measured in the art gallery setting. Therefore, the results of this research may encourage further investment into social integration activities involving both art galleries and aged-care facilities across the country. The NGA conducts art outreach programs across Australia and the research may support expansion of this program into galleries Australia wide and also into aged-care facilities. This project has a unique opportunity for Australia to pioneer an effective community based, minimally invasive and cost-effective program to improve the lives of people living with dementia. The findings also have the potential to influence the greater use of other art galleries and public establishments to integrate dementia programs into their operations. The goals of NGA the program for people with dementia are broad, with aims including the reduction of behavioural problems in other environments, reduced burden on carers, integration of individuals with dementia into society, and a possible reduction of medications and polypharmacy. Effects of an art gallery intervention on stress and inflammatory responses in people with dementia

3] Rachel Brimelow
Affiliation: University of Queensland
Project Title: Virtual Reality for Residential Aged Care - effects on engagement, mood states, anxiety, agitation and psychotropic medication use: a feasibility controlled trial
Award $4,837.76
Aims of project:

This controlled trial aims to determine the feasibility of virtual reality as a non- pharmacological approach to improve mood states within Residential Aged Care. Specifically, we aim to determine the effects of virtual reality on:

Mood as measured through the use of observer and participant ratings of emotional response, apathy, and group engagement

Agitation, anxiety, and depression levels

Psychotropic prescribing and the administration of pro re nata (PRN) medications

We hypothesize that group based VR sessions will increase resident engagement and social interactions, reduce agitation, anxiety and apathy, and improve mental wellbeing.

Based on the finding of the pilot study we have conducted we anticipate results that have the potential to change the landscape of leisure and lifestyle activities conducted in RAC homes, and to supplement our current knowledge of non-pharmacological approaches for RAC resident mental wellbeing.