Publications by authors named "Margaret Winbolt"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

What constitutes 'good' home care for people with dementia? An investigation of the views of home care service recipients and providers.

BMC Geriatr 2022 Jan 11;22(1):42. Epub 2022 Jan 11.

National Ageing Research Institute, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: Our objective was to explore what people receiving and providing care consider to be 'good' in-home care for people living with dementia.

Methods: We conducted 36 in-depth interviews and two focus groups with key stakeholders in Australia in the first quarter of 2018. Participants included those receiving care (4 people living with dementia, 15 family carers) or providing care (9 case managers, 5 service managers, 10 home care workers). Qualitative thematic analysis was guided by Braun and Clarke's six-step approach.

Results: Consensus was reached across all groups on five themes considered as important for good in-home dementia care: 1) Home care workers' understanding of dementia and its impact; 2) Home care workers' demonstrating person-centred care and empathy in their care relationship with their client; 3) Good relationships and communication between care worker, person with dementia and family carers; 4) Home care workers' knowing positive practical strategies for changed behaviours; 5) Effective workplace policies and workforce culture. The results contributed to the co-design of a dementia specific training program for home care workers.

Conclusions: It is crucial to consider the views and opinions of each stakeholder group involved in providing/receiving dementia care from home care workers, to inform workforce training, education program design and service design. Results can be used to inform and empower home care providers, policy, and related decision makers to guide the delivery of improved home care services.

Trial Registration: ACTRN 12619000251123 .
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January 2022

Promoting Independence Through quality dementia Care at Home (PITCH): a research protocol for a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Dec 20;22(1):949. Epub 2021 Dec 20.

The National Ageing Research Institute, Parkville, VIC, Australia.

Background: Home care service providers are increasingly supporting clients living with dementia. Targeted and comprehensive dementia-specific training for home care staff is necessary to meet this need. This study evaluates a training programme delivered to care staff (paid personal carers) of clients living with dementia at home.

Methods: This study is a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial (SW-CRT). Home care workers (HCWs) from seven home care service providers are grouped into 18 geographical clusters. Clusters are randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. The intervention group receives 7 h of a dementia education and upskilling programme (Promoting Independence Through quality dementia Care at Home [PITCH]) after baseline measures. The control group receives PITCH training 6 months after baseline measures. This approach will ensure that all participants are offered the program. Home care clients living with dementia are also invited to participate, as well as their family carers. The primary outcome measure is HCWs' sense of competence in dementia care provision.

Discussion: Upskilling home care staff is needed to support the increasing numbers of people living with dementia who choose to remain at home. This study uses a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial to evaluate a training programme (PITCH) for dementia care that is delivered to front-line HCWs.

Trial Registration: ; ACTRN12619000251123. Registered on 20 February 2019.
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December 2021

GP awareness, practice, knowledge and confidence: evaluation of the first nation-wide dementia-focused continuing medical education program in Australia.

BMC Fam Pract 2020 06 10;21(1):104. Epub 2020 Jun 10.

Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, AGSM Building, Sydney, NSW, 2052, Australia.

Background: Dementia is under-diagnosed in primary care. Timely diagnosis and care management improve outcomes for patients and caregivers. This research evaluated the effectiveness of a nationwide Continuing Medical Education (CME) program to enhance dementia-related awareness, practice, knowledge and confidence of general practitioners (GPs) in Australia.

Methods: Data were collected from self-report surveys by GPs who participated in an accredited CME program face-to-face or online; program evaluations from GPs; and process evaluations from workshop facilitators. CME participants completed surveys at one or more time-points (pre-, post-program, six to 9 months follow-up) between 2015 and 2017. Paired samples t-test was used to determine difference in mean outcome scores (self-reported change in awareness, knowledge, confidence, practice) between time-points. Multivariable regression analyses were used to investigate associations between respondent characteristics and key variables. Qualitative feedback was analysed thematically.

Results: Of 1352 GPs who completed a survey at one or more time-points (pre: 1303; post: 1017; follow-up: 138), mean scores increased between pre-CME and post-program for awareness (M = 0.9, p <  0.0005), practice-related items (M = 1.3, p <  0.0005), knowledge (M = 2.2, p <  0.0005), confidence (M = 2.1, p <  0.0005). Significant increases were seen in all four outcomes for GPs who completed these surveys at both pre- and follow-up time-points. Male participants and those who had practised for five or more years showed greater change in knowledge and confidence. Age, years in practice, and education delivery method significantly predicted post-program knowledge and confidence. Most respondents who completed additional program evaluations (> 90%) rated the training as relevant to their practice. These participants, and facilitators who completed process evaluations, suggested adding more content addressing patient capacity and legal issues, locality-specific specialist and support services, case studies and videos to illustrate concepts.

Conclusions: The sustainability of change in key elements relating to health professionals' dementia awareness, knowledge and confidence indicated that dementia CME programs may contribute to improving capacity to provide timely dementia diagnosis and management in general practice. Low follow-up response rates warrant cautious interpretation of results. Dementia CME should be adopted in other contexts and updated as more research becomes available.
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June 2020

Consumer expectations and experiences of quality in Australian home-based community services.

Health Soc Care Community 2020 09 28;28(5):1459-1467. Epub 2020 Feb 28.

La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia.

Australians want to live at home as they age and seek support from health and social care services to achieve this. The consumer driven market-based approach to community services in Australia has resulted in an increases in user's expectations of quality. What constitutes a quality service from the consumer's perspective is an important agenda to understand as the focus of care delivery moves to the domiciliary setting. This paper presents one aspect from a grounded theory PhD study, the aim of which was to understand the lived experience of receiving services in the home and its impact on the meaning of home. Participants were 11 people with dementia and 18 family supporters living in the state of Victoria, Australia. Data were collected between 2015 and 2017 through multiple interviews, photographic images, field notes and memos. NVIVO 10 qualitative analysis software program was used to support constant comparative analysis. Using a grounded theory approach, this study found that the decision to engage with community services was driven by the need to maintain autonomy, self-identity and home life. Participants sought quality services but discovered a dichotomy of positive and negative aspects in the way services were delivered. The most common reaction to the experience of poor-quality care was to reflect on their expectations for care quality; and manage the reality of what was delivered. Team work and service responsiveness were positive characteristics but were offset by service limitations and inefficiencies caused by poor communication and poor staff retention. The interpersonal relationships that participants developed with staff was highlighted; trust was an important factor whereas unreliable, task orientated and poorly trained staff would be rejected. The implications for policy and practice are described.
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September 2020

Home-Based Gait Training Using Rhythmic Auditory Cues in Alzheimer's Disease: Feasibility and Outcomes.

Front Med (Lausanne) 2019 31;6:335. Epub 2020 Jan 31.

North Eastern Rehabilitation Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Although gait disorders occur early in the course of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and increase the risk of falling, methods to improve walking in the home setting are poorly understood. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of a home-based gait training program using rhythmic auditory cues for individuals living with mild to moderately severe AD. Participants had probable AD with no other major conditions affecting locomotion. The intervention consisted of eight progressively modified 45-min gait training sessions delivered during home visits over 4 weeks. Experienced physiotherapists provided the therapy that incorporated rhythmic music cues for a range of locomotor tasks and ambulatory activities. On the days when the physiotherapist did not attend, participants independently performed a seated music listening activity. Walking speed, cadence, stride length, double limb support duration, and gait variability (coefficient of variation) were measured using an 8-m GAITRite® computerized walkway immediately before and after the physiotherapy intervention. Participant satisfaction was also assessed using a purpose-designed questionnaire. Eleven (median age, 77.0 years; median ACE III score, 66/100; 3 females and 8 males) community-dwelling adults living with AD participated. Wilcoxon signed rank tests revealed statistically significant increases in gait speed following the home-based physiotherapy intervention (baseline = 117.5 cm/s, post-intervention = 129.9 cm/s, = -2.40, < 0.05). Stride length also improved (baseline = 121.8 cm, post-intervention = 135.6 cm, = -2.67, < 0.05). There was no significant change in gait variability. The program was found to be feasible and safe, with no attrition. Participant satisfaction with the home-based music-cued gait training was high, and there were no adverse events. A progressively modified gait training program using rhythmic auditory cues delivered at home was feasible, safe, and enjoyable. Music-cued gait training can help to reduce the rate of decline in gait stride length and speed in some individuals living with AD., ACTRN12616000851460. U1111-1184-5735.
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January 2020

Effect of a dementia education intervention on the confidence and attitudes of general practitioners in Australia: a pretest post-test study.

BMJ Open 2020 01 26;10(1):e033218. Epub 2020 Jan 26.

Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Objectives: This study assessed the impact of a Dementia Education Workshop on the confidence and attitudes of general practitioner (GP) registrars (GPR) and GP supervisors (GPS) in relation to the early diagnosis and management of dementia.

Design: Pretest post-test research design.

Setting: Continuing medical education in Australia.

Participants: 332 GPR and 114 GPS.

Interventions: Registrars participated in a 3-hour face-to-face workshop while supervisors participated in a 2-hour-modified version designed to assist with the education and supervision of registrars.

Main Outcome Measures: The General Practitioners Confidence and Attitude Scale for Dementia was used to assess overall confidence, attitude to care and engagement. A t-test for paired samples was used to identify differences from preworkshop (T1) to postworkshop (T2) for each GP group. A t-test for independent samples was undertaken to ascertain differences between each workshop group. A Cohen's d was calculated to measure the effect size of any difference between T1 and T2 scores.

Results: Significant increases in scores were recorded for , and between pretest and post-test periods. GPR exhibited the greatest increase in scores for and .

Conclusions: Targeted educational interventions can improve attitude, increase confidence and reduce negative attitudes towards engagement of participating GPs.
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January 2020

Chronic disease management and dementia: a qualitative study of knowledge and needs of staff.

Aust J Prim Health 2019 Oct;25(4):359-365

Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Vic. 3006, Australia; and Sub-Acute Service, Queen Elizabeth Centre, Ballarat Health Service, Ascot Street South, Ballarat, Vic. 3350, Australia; and Corresponding author. Email:

Effective self-management is the cornerstone of chronic disease self-management. However, self-management of chronic disease in patients with comorbid dementia is particularly challenging. It is vital that clinicians, patients and carers work collaboratively to tailor self-management programs to each patient with dementia. This study aimed to identify barriers and facilitators of successful self-management in the context of cognitive impairment in order to optimise the capacity for self-management for persons with dementia (PWD). A qualitative study based on semistructured interviews was conducted in Victoria, Australia. Interviews were conducted with 12 people (employed in the ambulatory and dementia care sectors), representing six health services. Participants identified a healthcare system that is complex, not dementia friendly and not accommodating the needs of PWD who have comorbidities. Individual and systemic barriers contributed to ineffective self-management. Chronic disease support programs do not routinely undertake cognitive assessment or have guidelines for modified management approaches for those with cognitive impairment. Support needs to be long-term and requires a specialised skillset that recognises not only chronic disease management, but also the effect of cognition on self-management. Although formal guidelines are needed, care also needs to be tailored to individual cognitive abilities and deficits.
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October 2019

Workshops on diagnosis and management of dementia for general practitioners: a pre-post intervention study of dementia knowledge.

BMJ Open 2019 04 9;9(4):e027804. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Objectives: To assess improvements in dementia knowledge among general practitioner (GP) registrars and supervisors following their participation in dementia workshops.

Design: Pre-post intervention study.

Setting: General practice education in Australia.

Participants: 296 GP registrars and 91 GP supervisors.

Interventions: Registrars participated in a 3-hour face-to-face workshop on diagnosing and managing dementia. Supervisors participated in a 2-hour modified version of the workshop designed to support them in teaching registrars.

Main Outcome Measures: The Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) was used to assess overall dementia knowledge as well as knowledge on four subscales (causes and characteristics; communication and behaviour; care considerations; risks and health promotion). Changes in mean scores and the proportion of participants obtaining a threshold score (90th percentile score preworkshop) were used as measures of improvement.

Results: Few registrars and supervisors identified previous experience of formal dementia education. At baseline, mean dementia knowledge scores were 36 for registrars and 37 for supervisors of a total score of 50. Both groups had significantly improved overall dementia knowledge following the workshop with a mean score of 43. Improvements in knowledge were observed for all four DKAS subscales. Between preworkshop and postworkshop periods, there was an increase in the proportion of registrars and supervisors obtaining the threshold score for total DKAS as well as the four subscales. A significantly higher proportion of registrars compared with supervisors obtained the threshold score postworkshop in the areas of causes and characteristics and risks and health promotion.

Conclusions: Prior to the workshop, no differences in overall dementia knowledge were observed between registrars and supervisors. While knowledge improved in all areas for both groups postworkshop, findings from this study suggest the need to include foundational content such as the causes and characteristics of dementia in educational workshops for both trainee and experienced GPs.
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April 2019

A Home-Based, Music-Cued Movement Program Is Feasible and May Improve Gait in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.

Front Neurol 2019 19;10:116. Epub 2019 Feb 19.

Healthscope and La Trobe Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine Research, School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

To understand the benefits and feasibility of using supervised, home-based, music-cued training to improve gait speed and stability in community-dwelling people with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. Feasibility trial incorporating a single group repeated-measures design. Human movement laboratory and participants' homes. Two training sessions per week, conducted by experienced physiotherapists over 4 weeks. Each home training session consisted of a range of activities in standing or walking, with, and without auditory cues. Rhythmic auditory cues were played via a portable digital music player and consisted of metronome beats and individually chosen, commercially available rhythmic music tracks. Spatiotemporal gait measures were recorded using an 8 m long GAITRite® mat. Participants walked without cues at self-selected comfortable pace. The Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scales were administered at baseline. Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-III, Geriatric Depression Scale, Assessment of Personal Music Preference Scale, and Physiological Profile Assessment were administered at baseline and retest. At baseline, two of the five community-dwelling participants with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy walked with normal speed and low gait variability. Of the remainder who walked with slower, more variable patterns, two walked faster at retest, one by a clinically meaningful amount. Four participants reduced their timing variability at retest and three reduced step length variability. All participants reported high satisfaction levels with the program. When delivered at home with the support of caregivers, music-cued gait training can provide a feasible approach to improving disorders of gait stability in people with this rare, degenerative condition. Movement to music is engaging and enjoyable which can facilitate adherence to therapy. ANZCTR 12616000851460.
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February 2019

Stakeholder perceptions on resident-to-resident aggression: implications for prevention.

Aust Health Rev 2018 Dec;42(6):680-688

Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University,65 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Vic. 3006, Australia. Email:.

Objective Resident-to-resident aggression (RRA) in nursing homes is a matter of serious and profound concern, yet action to eliminate or mitigate RRA is hampered by a paucity of research. The aim of this study was to explore key stakeholders' knowledge and perceptions of RRA in Australian nursing homes. Methods A qualitative cross-sectional study design was used, and semistructured telephone interviews were conducted. Participants were purposively and conveniently sampled with replacement from a range of aged care, healthcare and legal professional bodies, as well as advocacy organisations. The interview contained 12 closed-ended questions and six open-ended questions about participants' knowledge, experiences, perceptions and attitudes to RRA. Participant characteristics and responses to closed-ended questions were aggregated and proportions calculated, and thematic analysis was conducted by two independent researchers using a directed content approach. Results Fifteen participants (11 females; 73.3%) in senior management positions were interviewed. All were familiar with the concept of RRA and just over half (n=8; 53.3%) had witnessed an incident. Major themes included the nature and causes of RRA and attitudes and responses to RRA. Potential causes of RRA included maladaptation to nursing home life, transfer of pre-existing issues into the nursing home environment, physical environment and staffing-related issues. RRA was commonly viewed by participants as dangerous and unpredictable or, conversely, as expected behaviour in a nursing home setting. A person-centred care approach was considered most effective for managing and responding to RRA. Conclusion The research demonstrates that understanding perceptions of RRA among key stakeholders is critical to identifying the nature and scope of the problem and to developing and implementing appropriate prevention strategies. What is known about the topic? RRA is common in nursing homes, with potentially fatal consequences for residents involved, and has serious implications for nursing home staff, managers, providers, and regulators. Despite this, the prevalence, impact, and prevention of RRA remains under-recognised and under-researched in Australia. What does this paper add? This is the first Australian study to produce qualitative findings on the knowledge and perceptions of RRA in nursing homes among key stakeholders. This paper reports on the knowledge and perceptions of individuals in senior management and policy roles in aged care and related fields in relation to four themes: nature; causes; attitudes; and responses to RRA. Our findings highlight the complex and multifactorial nature of RRA. What are the implications for practitioners? A movement towards person-centred care that promotes understanding of individual care needs is favoured as an approach to reducing RRA. Increased reporting of both minor and major incidents of RRA will help to identify patterns and inform appropriate responses. However, a cultural shift is first required to recognise RRA as a manageable and preventable health care and adult safeguarding issue.
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December 2018

A greater risk of premature death in residential respite care: a national cohort study.

Age Ageing 2018 03;47(2):226-233

Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 65 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia.

Background: the demand for residential respite care for older persons is high yet little is known about the occurrence of harm, including death in this care setting.

Objective: to compare the prevalence and nature of deaths among residential respite to permanent nursing home residents.

Design: retrospective cohort study.

Setting: australian accredited nursing homes between 1 July 2000 and 30 June 2013.

Subjects: respite and permanent residents of Australian accredited nursing homes, whose deaths were investigated by Australian coroners.

Methods: prevalence of deaths of nursing home residents were calculated using routinely generated coronial data stored in the National Coronial Information System. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated to examine residency (respite or permanent) by cause of death.

Results: of the 21,672 residents who died during the study period, 172 (0.8%) were in respite care. The majority of deaths were due to natural causes. A lower proportion occurred in respite (n = 119, 69.2%) than permanent (n = 18,264, 84.9%) residents. Falls-related deaths in respite as a proportion (n = 41, 23.8%) was almost double that in permanent care (n = 2,638, 12.3%). Deaths from other injury-related causes (such as suicide and choking) were significantly more likely in respite residents (OR = 2.0; 95% confidence interval: 1.1-3.6; P = 0.026).

Conclusions: this is the first national cohort study examining mortality among respite residents. It established that premature, injury-related deaths do occur during respite care. This is the first step towards better understanding and reducing the risk of harm in respite care.
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March 2018

Chronic disease self-management support for persons with dementia, in a clinical setting.

J Multidiscip Healthc 2017 25;10:49-58. Epub 2017 Jan 25.

Australian Centre for Evidence Based Aged Care, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

The burden of chronic disease is greater in individuals with dementia, a patient group that is growing as the population is aging. The cornerstone of optimal management of chronic disease requires effective patient self-management. However, this is particularly challenging in older persons with a comorbid diagnosis of dementia. The impact of dementia on a person's ability to self-manage his/her chronic disease (eg, diabetes mellitus or heart failure) varies according to the cognitive domain(s) affected, severity of impairment and complexity of self-care tasks. A framework is presented that describes how impairment in cognitive domains (attention and information processing, language, visuospatial ability and praxis, learning and memory and executive function) impacts on the five key processes of chronic disease self-management. Recognizing the presence of dementia in a patient with chronic disease may lead to better outcomes. Patients with dementia require individually tailored strategies that accommodate and adjust to the individual and the cognitive domains that are impaired, to optimize their capacity for self-management. Management strategies for clinicians to counter poor self-management due to differentially impaired cognitive domains are also detailed in the presented framework. Clinicians should work in collaboration with patients and care givers to assess a patient's current capabilities, identify potential barriers to successful self-management and make efforts to adjust the provision of information according to the patient's skill set. The increasing prevalence of age-related chronic illness along with a decline in the availability of informal caregivers calls for innovative programs to support self-management at a primary care level.
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January 2017

A systematic review of medication non-adherence in persons with dementia or cognitive impairment.

PLoS One 2017 6;12(2):e0170651. Epub 2017 Feb 6.

Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, Southbank, Victoria, Australia.

Background: Adherence to medication is vital for disease management while simultaneously reducing healthcare expenditure. Older persons with cognitive impairment (CI) are at risk for non-adherence as cognitive processes are needed to manage medications. This systematic review focuses on the relationship between medication non-adherence and specific cognitive domains in persons with CI, and explores determinants of medication non-adherence. When available, relationships and factors are compared with cognitively intact populations.

Methods: A seven database systematic search of studies published between 1 January 1949-31 December 2015 examining medication non-adherence in community dwelling persons with CI or dementia was conducted. Articles reporting medication non-adherence in people with CI or dementia in the community, with or without caregiver supports were eligible for inclusion. Papers reporting adherence to treatments in cognitively intact populations, populations from hospital or institutional settings, for non-prescribed medication or those describing dementia as a factor predicting medication non-adherence were excluded. Data on study and population characteristics, research design, data sources and analysis, specific cognitive domains, non-adherence prevalence, measurement of adherence, salient findings, factors associated with adherence and strategies to improve medication adherence were extracted. Study limitations included inconsistencies between data sources and definitions, resulting in a loss of fidelity in the value and comprehensiveness of data, as well as exclusion of non-pharmacological treatments and regimens.

Findings: Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Adherence among CI subjects ranged from 10.7%-38% with better rates of adherence in non-CI individuals. Medication non-adherence definitions varied considerably. New-learning, memory and executive functioning were associated with improved adherence and formed the focus of most studies. Multiple factors were identified as modulators of non-adherence.

Conclusion: This review highlights a gap in knowledge on how specific cognitive domains contribute to medication non-adherence amongst CI populations, and demonstrates the current focus is limited to two domains: memory and executive functioning.
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August 2017

Completion of Limitation of Medical Treatment forms by junior doctors for patients with dementia: clinical, medicolegal and education perspectives.

Aust Health Rev 2017 Oct;41(5):519-526

Queen Elizabeth Centre, Ballarat Health Services, 102 Ascot Street Sth, Ballarat, Vic. 3350, Australia. Email.

Objective Limitation of Medical Treatment (LMT) forms are an essential element of end-of-life care. Decision making around LMT is complex and often involves patients with dementia. Despite the complexity, junior doctors frequently play a central role in completing LMT forms. The present study sought perspectives from a range of stakeholders (hospital clinicians, medical education personnel, legal and advocacy staff) about junior doctors' roles in completing LMT forms in general and for patients with dementia. Methods Qualitative data were gathered in semi-structured interviews (SSI) and theoretical concepts were explored in roundtable discussion (RD). Participants were recruited through purposive and convenience sampling drawing on healthcare and legal personnel employed in the public hospital and aged care systems, selected from major metropolitan hospitals, healthcare and legal professional bodies and advocacy organisations in Victoria, Australia. The contents of the SSIs and RD were subject to thematic analysis using a framework approach. Data were indexed according to the topics established in the study aim; categories were systematically scrutinised, from which key themes were distilled. Results Stakeholders reported that completing LMT forms was difficult for junior doctors because of a lack of medical and legal knowledge, as well as clinical inexperience and inadequate training. Healthcare organisations (HCOs) either lacked policies about the role of junior doctors or had practices that were discordant with policy. In this process, there were substantial gaps pertaining to patients with dementia. Recommendations made by the study participants included the provision of supervised clinical exposure and additional training for junior doctors, strengthening HCO policies and explicit consideration of the needs of patients with dementia. Conclusions LMT forms should be designed for clarity and consistency across HCOs. Enhancing patient care requires appropriate and sensitive completion of LMT. Relevant HCO policy and clinical practice changes are discussed herein, and recommendations are made for junior doctors in this arena, specifically in the context of patients with dementia. What is known about the topic? Junior doctors continue to play a central role in LMT orders, a highly complex decision-making task that they are poorly prepared to complete. LMT decision making in Australia's aging population and for people with dementia is especially challenging. What does this paper add? A broad range of stakeholders, including hospital clinicians, medical education personnel and legal and advocacy staff, identified ongoing substantial gaps in education and training of junior doctors (despite what is already known in the literature). Furthermore, LMT decision making for patients with dementia is not explicitly considered in policy of practice. What are the implications for practitioners? Current policy and practice are not at the desired level to deliver appropriate end-of-life care with regard to LMT orders, especially for patients with dementia. Greater involvement of executives and senior clinicians is required to improve both practice at the bed side and the training and support of junior doctors, as well as creating more robust policy.
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October 2017

Web-based social media for professional medical education: Perspectives of senior stakeholders in the nursing home sector.

Nurse Educ Today 2015 Dec 27;35(12):1192-8. Epub 2015 May 27.

Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 65 Kavanagh Street, Melbourne 3006, Australia.

Objective: Participatory web-based platforms, including social media, have been recognised as valuable learning tools in healthcare education for over a decade. Use of these platforms is now widespread in tertiary education. It is less widely accepted as a tool for continuing professional education and development at the industry level. This study explores perspectives of senior stakeholders in the nursing home sector to explore perceived benefits, barriers and risks for use in professional education.

Methods: Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews of 'high level' clinical and executive staff from a cross section of nursing home stakeholder organisations. Established printed educational material (PEM) was used as a case study for adaptation to web-based social applications. Questions were designed to gather information about the interviewee's views on the potential to apply PEM to programs such as blogs, Twitter and YouTube to deliver education and aid communication in the sector.

Results: Twelve participants from eleven stakeholder organisations took part in the study. Most participants were cautious about the use of social media programs in continuing professional education. Participants described the benefits (contemporary information, delivered rapidly, varying formats) and barriers (credibility of information, potential misinterpretation, sector demographics, time constraints) to uptake of these programs. The majority of participants preferred formal e-learning programs to web-based social media applications.

Conclusions: Reservations expressed about the use of social media, such as accuracy, legal and privacy risks to the organisation reflected those previously expressed by the broader medical community.
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December 2015

Limitation of care orders in patients with a diagnosis of dementia.

Resuscitation 2016 Jan 26;98:118-24. Epub 2015 Mar 26.

Office of the Public Advocate, 1/204 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia.

The prevalence of dementia is growing with an ageing population. Most persons with dementia die of acute illness and many are hospitalised at the end of life. In the acute hospital setting, limitation of care orders (LCOs) such as Do Not Attempt CPR and Physician Orders For Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), appear to be underused in patients with dementia. These patients receive the same aggressive life-prolonging therapies as any other patient, despite drastically higher mortality. However, limitation of care orders in patients with dementia is not addressed by current guidelines or policies. Systems and processes for obtaining and documenting LCO need improvement at the individual, organisational and societal level. The issue is controversial amongst the public and poorly understood by clinicians. Balanced and empathetic decision-making requires an individualised approach and recognition of the complexities (legal, ethical and clinical) of this issue. We examine the domains of: (a) treatment effectiveness, (b) burden of care and quality of life and (c) patient autonomy and capacity.
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January 2016

Resident-to-resident physical aggression leading to injury in nursing homes: a systematic review.

Age Ageing 2015 May 28;44(3):356-64. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University and Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, 65 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia.

Background: resident-to-resident aggression (RRA) is an understudied form of elder abuse in nursing homes.

Objective: the purpose of this systematic review was to examine the published research on the frequency, nature, contributing factors and outcomes of RRA in nursing homes.

Methods: in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Statement, this review examined all original, peer-reviewed research published in English, French, German, Italian or Spanish between 1st January 1949 and 31st December 2013 describing incidents of RRA in nursing homes. The following information was extracted for analysis: study and population characteristics; main findings (including prevalence, predisposing factors, triggers, nature of incidents, outcomes and interventions).

Results: eighteen studies were identified, 12 quantitative and 6 qualitative. The frequency of RRA ranged from 1 to 122 incidents, with insufficient information across the studies to calculate prevalence. RRA commonly occurred between exhibitors with higher levels of cognitive awareness and physical functionality and a history of aggressive behaviours, and female targets who were cognitively impaired with a history of behavioural issues including wandering. RRA most commonly took place in the afternoon in communal settings, was often triggered by communication issues and invasion of space, or was unprovoked. Limited information exists on organisational factors contributing to RRA and the outcomes for targets of aggression.

Conclusions: we must continue to grow our knowledge base on the nature and circumstances of RRA to prevent harm to an increasing vulnerable population of nursing home residents and ensure a safe working environment for staff.
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May 2015

A study of the effectiveness of MP3 players to support family carers of people living with dementia at home.

Int Psychogeriatr 2015 Mar 23;27(3):471-9. Epub 2014 Sep 23.

Centre for Health Systems Development,La Trobe University,Melbourne Campus,Victoria,Australia.

Background: Music can be therapeutic to people with dementia; however, little is known about its effect on the family carers. This project aimed to (1) assess the effects of MP3 player use by a person with dementia on caregivers' mental health and wellbeing, including their self-care and health-promoting behavior and (2) determine whether MP3 player use increases caregivers' self-reported capacity to cope with their role.

Methods: A pre-post quantitative and qualitative design was used. Carers completed a survey prior to commencing and four weeks after using the player. The survey included validated measures to assess the level of stress and coping among carers. Carers also kept a diary of the way they used the MP3 player. Half of the carers were interviewed about their experiences at the end of the study.

Results: Of 59 people who started using the MP3 player, 51 carers completed the four-week study period and surveys. Use of the MP3 player significantly decreased psychological distress, significantly improved the mental health and wellbeing of carers, significantly increased caregiver self-efficacy to manage symptoms of dementia, and was reported to provide valued respite from the high level of vigilance required for caring for a person with dementia.

Conclusion: An MP3 player loaded with music can be a low cost and relatively simple and effective additional strategy to support families caring for people with dementia in the community.
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March 2015