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Our research

Our current and recent research projects focus on community-based and residential aged care services, health services, support and care for people living with dementia, aged care workforce, assistive, digital and smart sensing technology, and the risk factors associated with cognitive and physical health at older ages. See the tables below for summaries of our current and recently completed projects.



Enhancing Allied Health  for Older People in Residential Care - EAHOP (RC)Prof Stephen IsbelA team of allied health clinicians and researchers from the Ageing Research Group at the University of Canberra will implement and evaluate a new allied health intervention service model in a local residential aged care site. The allied health interventions will be tailored to the specific needs of each participant as identified during individual case conferences and may include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech pathology, dietetics, pharmacy and optometry. The UC research team includes: Stephen Isbel, Diane Gibson, Angie Fearon, Sam Kosari, Mark Naunton, Faran Sabeti, Jane Kellett, Nathan D'Cunha, Claire Pearce, Helen Southwood, Michelle Lincoln, Rachel Davey, Ram Subramanian  and Paresh Dawda, with colleagues Jennifer Hewitt (University of Sydney), Pip Logan & Neil Chadborn (University of Nottingham). The project is funded by a Medical Research Future Fund grant. See: project information.
Clinical Placements with Older People (CPOP)Prof Kasia Bail

The University of Canberra in collaboration with Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Wollongong are working together to boost our professional nursing workforce to care for older people. More now than ever, there’s a need for high-quality clinical placements in aged care and related settings. This project will connect nursing students with the experience and expertise to help make a difference in the lives of older Australians.

The CPOP program, which is part of the Aged Care Nursing Clinical Placements Program, is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.

Intergenerational virtual cycling project Prof Stephen Isbel UC researchers Jane Frost, Stephen Isbel, Nathan D’Cunha, Angie Fearon and Jane Kellett partnered with Banksia House and Carroll College in Broulee to create individualised virtual cycling experiences for residents.
Pharmacists in Residential Aged Care Facilities (PiRACF) Study 2019-2023Assoc Prof Sam Kosari The aim of the study was to develop, implement and evaluate a model that integrates on-site pharmacists into residential aged care facilities (RACFs) as part of the care team to improve quality use of medicines.

The project was funded by the CHN through the ACT’s Primary Health Program. The UC research team is Rachel Davey, Sam Kosari, Mark Naunton, Jane Koerner, Michael Dale and Ally Wood. See project information on the Health Research Institute and Capital Health Network  websites or download of the Evaluation report (PDF).
Implementation and scale-up of on-site pharmacists in residential aged care 2023 - 2025Assoc Prof Sam KosariBuilding on the outcomes of the PiRACF project this next stage of work relates to implementing and scaling up the on-site pharmacist model in residential aged care into regional, rural and remote RACFs through a co-design process that develops quality indicators for resident-focused and facility level outcomes. This will lead to a refinement of the model and identification of the facilitators and barriers that impact on implementation and sustainability of the model of care. The UC research team includes Sam Kosari, Rachel Davey, Mark Naunton, Jane Koerner, Paresh Dawda & Nasser Bagheri. This project is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund.
Aged care services and policy Prof Diane Gibson This project examines current patterns of aged care services from the perspective of policy and practice.
Delivering timely post-diagnostic dementia care in the ACT region: identifying current gaps and enhancing service deliveryDr Nathan D’Cunha

Over three years, this project seeks to untangle referral pathways for people with dementia in the ACT region and to co-create and evaluate a new cost-effective at-home reablement program for people with dementia and their carers. The project team includes Nathan D'Cunha, Stephen Isbel, Kasia Bail & Diane Gibson with Canberra Health Services colleague Michelle Bennett.

The project is supported by an ACT Health Research and Innovation Fellowship.

Aged Care Transition to Practice Program: Gerontological Nursing Competencies (GNCs) Prof Kasia Bail In 2021, the Commonwealth Government Department of Health funded the University of Wollongong and the University of Canberra as a Consortium to deliver the GNCs Program to new graduate and early career registered nurses working in aged care across Australia. This project implements the GNCs program for new graduate nurses working in residential aged care, providing mentorship, professional development and specialist education. The project team includes Kasia Bail and Diane Gibson (UC) in collaboration with Karen Strickland (ECU) and the University of Wollongong's Aged Dementia Health Education & Research (ADHERe) centre.

Website: Gerontological Nursing Competencies

Gerontological Nursing Clinical Chair Prof Kasia Bail This conjoint role leads a community of practice for gerontological nursing across settings in the ACT, providing a network to improve research, education and career development for nurses to improve the quality of older person care in the ACT and region.
Implementation & evaluation of a digital alert system to support residential aged care staff in providing better quality of careProf Kasia BailThe project aim is to develop and test a digital alert system to support staff, enhance quality of care, improve resident's health outcomes and reduce adverse events. The project will create an Aged Care Electronic Data & Information Toolkit (ACED-IT) that pulls data from multiple sources, streams data into classifications, triggers escalation pathways, ensures the right people are notified at the right time, be easy to use for aged care staff and support constructive and person focused decision-making. The UC research team includes Kasia Bail, Diane Gibson, Stephen Isbel, Nathan D'Cunha with industry colleagues Mark Sheldon-Stemm, Arthur Shih & Desmond McGuirk. The project is funded by an Aged Care Research & Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) grant.
International and national surveys of gerontological competency of nursing students Prof Kasia Bail In conjunction with an international team, this project will investigate current knowledge and skills of pre-registration nursing students in relation to older person nursing care.
Ageing Well: Education to Enhance Students’ Opportunities to Maximise Engagement, Experience and Excellence (Project AWESOME) Dr Daniela Castro De Jong Co-designed educational package to address ageism in healthcare students at UC. The project team is Daniela Castro de Jong, Jane Frost, Jane Kellett, Nathan D’Cunha & Dimity Crisp.
Nutrition and Healthy Ageing Trajectories in  Retirement Living (NutriHAT-RL) Assoc Prof Jane Kellett The aim of the NutriHAT-RL study is to identify nutrition-led effects associated with healthy ageing trajectories that can potentially impact onset and development of chronic disease starting with a detailed assessment of nutritional status, dietary intake and behaviours, physical function, cognitive performance and social determinants and quality of life in 2,500 individuals aged 55 years of age and over residing in the retirement villages in the ACT region. The Chief investigators are Jane Kellett, Nenad Naumovski, Stephen Isbel & Nathan D’Cunha.
UC CARE (Understanding Compassionate care awareness respect and empathy) Adjunct Prof Jane Frost With Jane Kellett and Stephen Isbel, the UCCARE program involves a partnership with Warrigal Aged Care, employing and evaluating an innovative education module targeting care staff with the aim of increasing empathetic, compassionate and respectful interactions.
The Sustainable Personalised Interventions for Cognition, Care and Engagement (SPICE) Program Dr Nathan D’Cunha UC researchers Nathan D’Cunha, Diane Gibson, Stephen Isbel, Kasia Bail, Jane Kellett, Angie Fearon & Joe Northey in partnership Canberra Health Services, University of Canberra Hospital Specialist Centre for Rehabilitation, Recovery & Research are running a pilot 12-week evidence-based multi-component program designed for people with dementia and carers. The program includes physical activity, cognitive stimulation therapy, social engagement, nutrition assessment and carer education and capacity building. The project will assess the value of this pilot program, measuring impact and effectiveness for people with dementia and carers. 
This project is partially supported by funding from the Dementia Australia Research Foundation (Hazel Hawke Research Grant 2021).
A national survey of intergenerational programs in Australian residential aged care homes Dr Nathan D’Cunha This study examines the ongoing state of intergenerational programs conducted within Australian residential aged care settings by conducting a nationwide survey. The research team includes Nathan D’Cunha, Stephen Isbel, Kasia Bail, Diane Gibson & Daniela Castro De Jong.
Evaluation of Liviuscare smart sensing technology at an innovative dementia care provider, Kambera House Prof Diane Gibson This study is evaluating the use of fall response and management technology within a new small-scale dementia care home in Canberra. The project team is Diane Gibson, Stephen Isbel, Kasia Bail & Nathan D’Cunha.
Investigating the direct and indirect associations between menopause and brain health Dr Ananthan Ambikairajah UC researcher Ananthan Ambikairajah has partnered with Prof Nicolas Cherbuin (Australian National University) and Professor Michael Hornberger (University of East Anglia) to investigate the contributions of menopause to brain health to better inform treatment and prevention advice that directly targets women’s health.
Towards a comprehensive predictive model of the contribution of individual and combination of risk factors to brain ageing, neurodegeneration and cognitive decline Dr Ananthan Ambikairajah UC researcher Ananthan Ambikairajah has partnered with Prof Nicolas Cherbuin (Australian National University) to investigate the effects of risk factors for brain ageing and dementia and develop models to assess the magnitude of their impact, and to identify individuals at increased risk of accelerated brain ageing and cognitive decline.
Can x-ray and imaging services for residents of residential aged care facilities be improved? Dr Chandra Makanjee This pilot project examines the economic viability of portable versus institutional imaging services on patient outcomes.
Improving collaborative palliative care: after death reviews in residential aged care homes Adjunct Prof Paresh Dawda This study is being done in conjunction with Calvary and Next Practice Deakin. The aims are to: retrospectively assess the quality of care immediately prior to death; examine the collaborative nature of care provided prior to death, and whether collaborative multidisciplinary care results in improved care of the dying; and to use the ELDAC After Death Audit tool to determine whether it is suitable for auditing end of life care in residential care homes in the ACT. UC research team includes Kasia Bail.
A proof of concept study evaluating acceptability, barriers and enablers of virtual care for primary care consultations in residential aged care Adjunct Prof Paresh Dawda The aim of this pilot study is to explore the acceptability and feasibility of using virtual examination in real time using a TytoCare device. Staff at the residential aged care home are already using this TytoCare examination kit for real time telehealth consultations with GPs and NPs. The pilot seeks to assess if this virtual care model can be incorporated as a modality of telehealth care for people in residential aged care; and what are the benefits of a virtual model of care to GPs and residents?
Best practice in non-surgical management of knee osteoarthritis Prof Jennie Scarvell UC researchers Jennie Scarvell, Theo Niyonsenga & Angie Fearon together with Paul Smith and Tom Ward (Canberra Health Services) are working with other collaborative partners to investigate best practice in non-surgical management of knee osteoarthritis.
Does exercise and movement retraining for knee osteoarthritis change the way we move? Prof Jennie Scarvell UC researchers Jennie Scarvell, Angie Fearon and Wayne Spratford together with Joe Lynch (Canberra Health Services), Catherine Galvin (ANU) and UC HDR students (Denika Silva, Jacqui Couldrick & Ross Docherty) are examining if exercise and movement retraining for knee osteoarthritis changes the way people move.
Dementia services in the ACT Prof Kasia Bail UC researchers Kasia Bail and Nathan D’Cunha are conducting a survey of dementia services in the ACT with colleagues from the UC Health Research Institute.
Digital Storytelling for  person-focussed dementia careProf Kasia BailThis project will examine the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of storytelling via the StoryTiling app to support person-focussed dementia care in residential and community care settings in Australia. The research team includes Kasia Bail, Stephen Isbel, Diane Gibson, Nathan D'Cunha, with interns Stephanie Munk and Rhiannon Toohey.
Optometry & eye healthDr Kam Chun (Terry) HoVarious projects relating to optometry and eye health in older adults including: iCareTrack2 with Isabelle Jalbert and colleagues (UNSW); Falls risk associated with cataract and after first and second eye cataract surgery: FOCUS Data Linkage Study with Lisa Keay and colleagues (UNSW); Developing refractive management guidelines for patients undergoing cataract surgery: A Delphi Study with David Elliott (University of Bradford); Age-related macular degeneration with Ecosse Lamoureux (Singapore Eye Research Institute).
Generalist palliative care curriculum content within undergraduate nursingMrs Sylvia NilssonIdentifying evidence informed priority generalist palliative care content that should be included in Australian undergraduate nursing curriculum.
Positive behaviour plans – enablers and barriers to nursing leadershipDr Rowena BeechamMixed methods study exploring current practices in utilising behaviour support plans (BSPs) in The Canberra Hospital, and barriers and enablers for nursing staff implementation of BSPs


NameContactDescription Year completed
Feasibility of Implementing Recommendations to Reduce Fall Risk in Older People – A Delphi StudyDr Kam Chun (Terry) HoWith Lisa Keay and colleagues (UNSW), this project used the Delphi technique (a scientific method to draw consensus) to gain perspectives on the feasibility of implementing  recommendations to reduce fall risk in older people optometric practice.2022
Falls in Older people with Cataract, a longitudinal evalUation of impact and riSk: the FOCUS studyDr Kam Chun (Terry) HoWith Lisa Keay and colleagues (UNSW) this project examined the impact of cataract-related vision impairment on falls risk and the additional effects of delays in access to surgery, refractive management (type of spectacles and changes to spectacle prescription) and the resulting level of function, particularly binocular function which can impact balance.2022
Evaluation of InterRAI telehealth placement for final year nursing students (NZ) Prof Sharon Brownie This project evaluated the implementation of the first Nursing Council of NZ approved telehealth clinical placement for undergraduate students. The InterRAI telehealth placement for final year nursing students was implemented in response to the challenges of conducting health and wellbeing assessments for ‘at-risk’ older people across the Waikato Region during the national COVID-19 lockdown. This collaborative project involved Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec), Massey University, Waikato District Health Board’s Older Persons Health Service and TAS interRAI Services. 

Download report (PDF): A COVID-19 Rapid Response: Evaluating an InterRAI telehealth placement for final year nursing students

Virtual cycling experiences with aged care residentsAdjunct Prof Jane FrostUC researchers Jane Frost, Nathan D’Cunha, Stephen Isbel, Angie Fearon and Jane Kellett are developing and evaluating virtual cycling experiences for people living in residential aged care.2022
Information asymmetry and assistive technology: the role of brokerage services Prof Stephen Isbel

UC researchers Nathan M D’Cunha, Stephen Isbel, Diane Gibson, Nenad Naumovski & John Goss completed a scoping review of the literature and economic analysis around information asymmetry for Assistive Technology Australia and the potential role of brokerage services to address the fact that many consumers do not have the experience or knowledge to make informed choices about assistive technology.

Download reports (PDF): Information asymmetry and assistive technology: the role of brokerage services 

Economic evaluation of assistive technology information – an Australian perspective

Older people and semi-autonomous vehicles Prof Stephen Isbel UC researchers Stephen Isbel and Diane Gibson have partnered with the ACT government and Canberra-based company Seeing Machines to explore the potential of semi-autonomous cars in enabling older people to keep driving and maintain social engagement.

Download report (PDF):  Exploring the potential of automated vehicle technologies for older drivers 

Better quality health information to provide better quality aged care (ACE evaluation)Prof Kasia BailUC researchers Kasia Bail, Diane Gibson, Alicia Hind, Jo Gibson and Natasha Jojo, worked with an innovative local industry partner, undertaking formative and summative evaluations of their pilot implementation of a digital health solution (ACE) focused on providing better and more accessible patient-centred information to residential aged care staff.

Download reports (PDF):  Evaluation of ACE in residential aged care: The impact of a digital point-of-care system on residents and staff (2021).

Evaluation of ACE in residential aged care: The impact of a digital point-of-care  system on residents and staff. Baseline & Interim Reports (2020).

Transitioning from hospital to residential aged care Prof Kasia Bail UC staff and students (Kasia Bail, Daisy Azmi, Todd Kaye, Chrysta Bridge) in collaboration with Canberra Health Services explored barriers to people transitioning from hospital to residential aged care 2021
Dance for Wellbeing – More than the Movement Dr Suzanne Carroll The Dance for Wellbeing program provides dance classes for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease and their carers at the Belconnen Arts Centre and Tuggeranong Arts Centre as well as dance performance opportunities. This research project is a qualitative exploration of the experiences of Dance for Wellbeing participants with a focus on wellbeing aspects related to participating in the classes and related dance performances. The project team is Suzanne Carroll, Michael Dale and Kasia Bail. 2021
Improving older person friendly care practices through identification of barriers and enablers Prof Kasia Bail This research explores the feasibility of ‘older person friendly practice pedagogies’ and the relationship between the use of practice pedagogies and the frequency of fundamental care provision to and hospital-acquired complications for hospitalized older people. The outcomes of this study are expected to include an older person friendly clinical environment, in which fundamental care is frequently delivered for older patients; and reduced hospital-acquired complications and length of stay. 2020
Arts-based discussion groups for people living with dementia Dr Nathan D’Cunha Undertaken in collaboration with the National Gallery of Australia, the research is an important contribution as to whether art therapy does ‘make a difference’ for people with dementia living in residential aged care. The project identified preliminary evidence for a change in salivary cortisol, improved cognitive performance and quality of life, and reduced depressive symptoms. The UC research team included Nathan D’Cunha, Nenad Naumovski, Andrew McKune and Stephen Isbel. 2020
Cognitive impairment and complex behaviour in a purpose built acute care ward Prof Kasia Bail UC staff in collaboration with Canberra Health Services explored improving care of people with cognitive impairment and complex behavioural needs in purpose-built acute care ward 2020
Supported decision-making and individual advocacy as tools to assist older persons experiencing elder abuse Prof Kasia Bail UC researchers, Kasia Bail, Sarah Cope, and Murray Turner together with Karen Strickland (ECU) reviewed supported decision-making and individual advocacy as tools to assist older persons experiencing elder abuse. The project was funded by ADACAS. 2020
Dementia care in hospitals program Prof Kasia Bail UC staff, Canberra Health Services, and a national team led by Mark Yates and funded by the Commonwealth of Australia implemented the Dementia Care in Hospitals Program (DCH). This study is the largest prospective hospital-based study of cognitive impairment in Australia. The DCH program is unique as it links clinical and non-clinical staff education to an over bedside alert the Cognitive Impairment Identifier (CII). 2019
Designing a framework for engaging non-traditional segments in physical activity in natural environments: a pilot project with older persons 65+ at 3 ACT destination sites in Canberra Dr Daniela Castro De Jong This study looked at the opportunities for engagement in outdoors activities for community dwelling older people in the ACT. Three were included, and a report was submitted to the funding agency. The UC research team included Cathy Hope, Bethaney Turner, Daniela Castro de Jong & Thomas Bevitt with community stakeholders. 2019
Evaluation of quality of care in a four-bed aged care ward Prof Jennie Scarvell UC researchers Jennie Scarvell, Kasia Bail, Stephen Isbel, Jane Kellett in collaboration with Canberra Health Services staff explored quality of care in a four-bed geriatric ward in an acute care hospital as part of developing new models of care. 2018
Older people, dementia and hospital care  Prof Diane Gibson The Hospital Dementia Services project explored service delivery factors that influenced outcomes in hospital for people with dementia. The project was funded by NHMRC and involved colleagues from the University of Sydney and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2017
Medication management and dementia in acute care Prof Diane Gibson People with dementia often have complex medication regimens and are at risk of medication problems during multiple transitions of care. This project explored medication processes in acute care episodes and care transitions in order to make recommendations to improve practice. Completed
The National Evaluation of the Nurse Practitioners Models of Practice in Aged Care Program Prof Rachel Davey This evaluation project was undertaken to test the efficacy and feasibility of the pilot program of nurse practitioners in residential aged care. Completed