Flinders University GA00026 – commenced 1/10/2017 – completed 31/12/2019

Research Team: Dr Michelle Bellon, Ms Alinka Fisher, Professor Sharon Lawn, Professor McKay Sohlberg, Professor Jacinta Douglas and Dr Huahua Yin.

This project aimed to inform an economically viable service model for providing community-based neuro-behavioural support within South Australia. This project examined the feasibility of a family-directed behaviour support (FDBS) training program for caregivers to implement behavioural support interventions to their family members with an acquired brain injury (ABI) in community settings.

The FDBS program consists of an education phase followed by individualised sessions, and is premised on a Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) framework. The outcome is to promote family caregivers as facilitators in the management process; facilitating competence on a service model currently unable to meet neuro-behavioural support needs.

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Flinders University GA00024commenced 15/06/2017 – completed 28/02/2019

Research Team: Ms Nicole Simmons, Associate Professor Chris Barr, and Associate Professor James McLoughlin.

The study aimed to determine which aspects of balance and mobility most influence how much people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) participate in community activities. Factors including walking speed, walking capacity, balance, balance confidence, dizziness, fatigue and self-belief in ones abilities.

These factors were measured and analysed to determine how strongly these relate to levels of community participation.

The results could assist in guiding interventions and services towards factors that are more likely to improve community activity levels in people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

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The University of Sydney GA00068 – commenced 01/03/2018 – completed 16/11/2018

Research Team: Dr Liz Gill and Professor Ian Cameron.

This project aimed to report on findings in relation to Lifetime Support Authority (LSA) participant outcomes and to undertake a larger benchmarking project between the LSA scheme and the New South Wales Lifetime Care and Support Scheme (NSW LTCS).

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Central Adelaide Local Health Network GA00035 – commenced 12/07/2017 – completed 31/12/2018

Research Team: Dr Simon Mills, Dr Shylie Mackintosh, Dr Michelle McDonnell and Dr Dominic Thewlis.

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is devastating and can have life-long effects on mobility, little is known about the changes in mobility over time in those with severe ABI, as this population is generally excluded from research. A longitudinal, observational study with 12 adults who are not able to walk 8 weeks after an acquired brain injury (ABI)

The research produced statistical and qualitative data aimed to determine changes in mobility, the relationship between change in postural alignment and changes in mobility skills, and the relationships between quality of life and mobility for people living with severe ABI.

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Southern Adelaide Local Health Network Incorporated GA00038 – commenced 03/07/2017 – completed 29/11/2019

Research Team: Professor Julio Licinio, Professor Brian Freeman, Mr Prab Takhar and Dr Ryan O‘Hare Doig.

A study to provide an evidence-based and standardised approach to deescalating challenging behaviours in people living with traumatic brain injury (TBI).

This project aimed to reduce the use of mechanical and pharmacological restraints   applied in situations ‘Code Black’ security incidents for patients with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Key objectives achieved by this project were the development and implementation of an evidence based protocol for the management of behavioural issues in traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients, an objective outcome measure to determine behaviour change.  A suite of e-learning staff training modules relating to behavioural changes after brain injury, acute management of behaviours of concern after brain injury was paired with the existing rehabilitation module “Setting events, antecedents and behaviour log”.

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University of South Australia GA00010 – commenced 13/07/2017 – completed 31/12/2018

Research Team: Professor Susan Hillier, Dr Julie Luker, Dr Carolyn Murray and Mrs Anthea Worley.

The purpose of this study was to understand how the quality of brain injury rehabilitation is understood by people living with brain injury, their families and carers, and the practitioners who provide it.

The research utilised evidence from different countries and contexts that identified the key concepts of quality rehabilitation and measurement tools.

Evidence from interviews conducted with three stakeholder groups – people with brain injury, their carer’s and brain injury health professionals, was also used to inform understandings about quality rehabilitation.

The project produced a list of indicators of high-quality brain injury rehabilitation to form the basis of audit checklists and other evaluation resources, useful for consumers, providers and funders to better recognise high quality rehabilitation choices.

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Flinders University GA00028 – commenced 03/07/2017 – completed 30/06/2019

Research Team: Associate Professor Stacey George, Dr Christopher Barr, Dr Kate Laver, Professor Maria Crotty, Dr Angela Berndt, Ms Andrea Aitchison and Ms Mareeta Dolling.

Flinders University have researched and identified the most effective rehabilitation approach for returning to driving following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Designed as a randomised cross over trial, this study involved the comparison of the effectiveness of a driving simulator compared to routine driving lessons, to determine which intervention approach was most effective and inform clinical practice.

Participants were evaluated on performance in assessments of visual scanning, attention, processing speed, self-efficacy, road sign recognition, reaction time and on-road driving performance. Results have indicated that those who participated in lessons had a significantly improved outcome in an on-road assessment, and less hazardous errors on-road when compared to the driving simulator group at the initial cross over point.

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Office of the Public Advocate GA00049 – commenced 07/08/2017 – completed 11/01/2019

Research Team: Ms Anne Gale, Ms Margaret Brown, Dr David Caudrey, Ms Clarissa Bourne, Ms Kylie Smith, Ms Karen Saxty, Ms Lyndi Gepp, Ms Sally Fox and Ms Kerry Cross.

The study produced a policy and practice framework to guide the implementation of supported decision-making principles for people with impaired decision-making capacity.

This project aimed to enhance individuals’ ability to get their life chances back following an acquired brain injury (ABI), and involved examining of the use of supported-decision-making practices with Lifetime Support Scheme (LSS) participants to enable them to exercise their independence, choice and control.

The research process included training in supported-decision-making principles, defining the roles of decision makers, facilitators, supporters and monitors, and the recording of decisions as self-determined, collaborative or substantive.

This project provided a literature review of best-practice supported-decision-making, as well as a supported-decision-making practice exercise and evaluation of outcomes, which were used to inform the policy and practice framework.

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University of South Australia GA00054 – commenced 09/10/2015 – completed 13/10/2016

Research Team: Dr Mandy Stanley, Dr Shylie Mackintosh, Dr Gisela van Kessel, Dr Caroline Fryer, Associate Professor Susan Hillier and Ms Carolyn Murray.

A research team at the University of South Australia have completed a project to improve understandings of the meaning of choice and control for people with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injury, as well as their caregivers and families.

This research found that it is important to people living with brain or spinal injury that their caregivers and families understand the context that they are living within, and how establishing identity, having choices and exerting personal power contributes to their sense of being in control.

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University of South Australia GA00034 commenced 08/06/2017 – completed 01/03/2019

Research Team: Associate Professor Mandy Stanley, Associate Professor Shylie Mackintosh, Dr Gisela van Kessel and Dr Carolyn Murray.

The project aimed to better understand how health professionals manage the dignity of risk for people living with brain injury.

The study addressed the issue of how to enable people living with brain injury to live a full life, including having the dignity to take risks that are part of everyday life.

The project sought to address common restrictions this group faces to achieve meaningful participation in the community, and understand how occupational therapists and physiotherapists understand risk, balance community safety, and support personal growth.

The outcomes of this project included the development of a set of stories to illustrate scenarios encountered in practice, these included reflective questions to be used as a continuing professional development resource.

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Flinders University GA00053 – commenced 09/10/2015 – completed 13/10/2016

Research Team: Associate Professor Stacey George, Dr Christopher Barr, Professor Maria Crotty and Dr Jacki Liddle.

The Car-Free-Me project aimed to support people with complex trauma injuries and their families to maximise participation through community mobility.

The project focused on people with injuries including orthopaedic, amputee, spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries, who may no longer be able to drive, and evaluated the effectiveness of community mobility group intervention programs for these people, and their families, to positively impact health outcomes.

Sessions were undertaken by an occupational therapist on adjusting to losses and changes, experiences of stopping driving, alternative transport, lifestyle planning, and advocacy and support.

The findings provided a statistically significant improvement in individual program goal ratings following the intervention program, and qualitative data analysis found that the peer support offered in these programs was valued by participants.

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Central Adelaide Local Health Network Incorporated GA00015 – commenced 31/07/2017 – completed 31/10/2018

Research Team: Dr Maggie Killington, Ms Kate Dawes, Ms Ashley Belcher and Dr Maayken van den Berg.

The project aimed to involve consumers with a lived experience of acquired brain injury (ABI) in how sub-acute services can be used to best support and educate children about brain injury. The project sought to investigate the perspectives of children and families when a family member has a brain injury, to understand if children perceive whether their needs were met, and identify the gaps in resources and tools in this area.

This research identified that there is a lack of support and involvement for family members during the acute hospital phase to community living many years after the injury.

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Central Adelaide Local Health Network Incorporated GA00055 – commenced 07/10/2015 – completed 13/01/2017

Research Team: Dr Maggie Killington, Mr Michael Snigg  and Ms Emma Campbell.

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether provision of group-based modules addressing recognition of the signs of fatigue, causes of fatigue and self-management of fatigue following an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) leads to enhanced self-efficacy and improved quality of life. The clinical trial resulted in improved quality of life and self-efficacy.

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Julia Farr Housing Association Incorporated GA00059 – commenced 16/05/2016 – completed 30/06/2019

Research Team: Mr Geoff Barber, Ms Mikaila Crotty, Mr David Elston and Mr Robbi Williams.

This trial was designed and delivered by Stretchy Tech, Researchers from JFA Purple Orange completed the data collection, data analysis, and the cost benefit analysis as well as the research report.

The study identified and measured the benefits of how home integrated technology can increase a person’s independence and dignity, enhance their wellbeing and connection to the community. The trial involved identifying, assessing and validating suitable technologies utilising a proven Cost Benefit Analysis approach. Approved technologies were then installed in participant’s homes and they were trained in their use and function.

This project provided involved participants with an active role in the assessment of technology, which allowed for greater independence and mobility, and improved control in their lives through choice of technology options.

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South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) GA00058 – commenced 01/10/2015 – completed 30/12/2017

Research Team: Dr Ryan O’Hare Doig, Professor Brian Freeman  Mr Prab Takhar, Associate Professor Jillian Clark, Associate Professor Dylan Bartholomeusz, Dr Kevin Kuan, Mr Doug Smyth and Mr Nicholas Siebert.

A project that provided the foundation for a new diagnostic and long-term prognostic approach to the care of those with spinal cord injury (SCI). The aim was to determine whether Positron Emission Tomography (PET) of the spinal cord has clinically predictive validity to map out areas of the injured but viable spinal cord, which has the potential to recover post-surgery.

The research looked at spinal cord inflammation, and aimed to improve the scanning of areas, for better surgical intervention and improved patient outcomes. The completion of this project allowed for the inception of Project Discovery, a human clinical trial to test the application of this new diagnostic technology.

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University of South Australia GA00040 – commenced 03/07/2017 – completed 31/01/2019

Research Team: Dr Angela Berndt, Ms Susan Gilbert-Hunt, Associate Professor Stacey George and Professor Julie Ratcliffe.

The project aimed to determine the cost effectiveness and social benefits of provision of vehicle modification to people with disability, to generate a theory of change for the social value created by these modifications.

Findings highlighted that investment in vehicle modifications is repaid in generated social value over and above the expected driving life of people with disability as well as the expected life of the vehicle, which has important implications for funders of such modifications.

This research also illustrated that vehicle modifications generate a wide range of positive outcomes that are meaningful for people with disability and greatly contribute to the quality of their lives, as well as the opportunities they have access to in Australian society.

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Central Adelaide Local Health Network Incorporated GA00057 – commenced 07/10/2015 – completed 01/01/2017

Research Team: Ms Kate Viner, Dr Mandy Stanley and Mr Hugh Stewart.

The focus of this completed study was to look at the technology available for individuals with tetraplegia, a spinal cord injury above the first thoracic vertebrae affecting the cervical spinal cord.

Tetraplegia results in reduced motor and sensory function of the upper and lower limbs, and independent access to technology can be difficult or sometimes impossible for people living with the condition. The research project facilitated access to an all-in-one device, such as a tablet or smartphone, for people living with Tetraplegia to explore the satisfaction and perspectives of its uses and benefits.

This project aimed to investigate the experiences of clients with tetraplegia using smartphones, tablets and computers, and found that participants were more satisfied with their technology following the intervention. This included improved access to technology with adaptive aids, use of apps to increase independence and the social opportunities provided by access to phone and social media apps.

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Julia Farr Housing Association Incorporated GA00041 – commenced 24/11/2017 – completed 28/02/2020

Research Team: Ms Cat Morgan, Mr Geoff Barber and Ms Jackie Hayes.

This project aims to explore how integrated home technology can increase an individual’s independence and dignity, enhance their wellbeing and connection to community.

The project uses an action-research approach to identify the best form and intensity of training requirements for service coordinators, planners and support workers to enable them to assist people with a disability to use assistive technology, including smartphones and tablets.

The research project will not only deepen the understanding of how to best support service planning and support workers, but also enable people living with an acquired brain or spinal cord injury to have access to increased independence through technology.

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Ninti-One GA00051 – commenced 02/06/2015 – completed 30/10/2015

Research Team: Ms Tammy Abbott, Mr Steve Fisher, Ms Maureen Abbott, Ms Lena Taylor,Ms Georgia Brazenal, Mr Edin Fleming, Ms Georgia Lennon, Ms Julia Walsh, and Mr Angus Thornton.

The Aboriginal Community Research team at Ninti One have conducted a survey of Anangu people in two selected communities, Pukatja and Amata, in order to capture perspectives and insights of Aboriginal people with disabilities and their Carer’s.

This project aimed to enable participants to voice their own priorities, needs and stories, and led the researchers to identify key themes that represent those voices.

The survey highlighted the vulnerability of individual people in terms of care support are particularly important issues that require priority attention.

Responses also highlighted that the role of respite support, improved cross-cultural knowledge and practice, better education, and increased awareness of disability across the population to meet the aspirations of people with disabilities are among many topics relevant to future service design and improvement.

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The University of Adelaide GA00056 – commenced 19/10/2015 – completed 13/10/2016

Research Team: Dr Diana Dorstyn, Associate Professor Rachel Roberts, Professor Anna Chur-Hansen, Professor Ashley Craig, Professor Ian Kneebone, Professor Gregory Murphy, Dr Christine Migliorini, Mr Peter Stewart , Dr Ruth Marshall, Associate Professor Jillian Clark and Ms Elizabeth Potter.

The aims of this project were to; (1) examine facilitators of and barriers to workforce participation to people with spinal cord injury living in community-based housing, (2) assess the feasibility of online vocational rehabilitation programs, and (3) to create a detailed picture of service delivery in vocational rehabilitation.

This research found that early intervention is critical to job retention for those with a spinal cord injury (SCI), and that more investment into services that assist these individuals to remain employed is necessary. The pilot project noted that the use of email-based information to promote vocational goals, interests and strengths among injured job-seekers could provide a novel solution to this problem.

It is hoped that this study will contribute to further research that addresses the successful long-term health and lifestyle for injured people, and help to ensure that participants living with spinal cord injury have a robust set of tools and information to successfully transition to vocational pursuits and career development.

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Determined 2 GA00021 – commenced 19/10/2017 – completed 30/11/2019

Research Team: Dr Adrian Winsor, Miss Karlee Naumann, Dr Kade Davison, Professor Gaynor Parfitt and Dr Jocelyn Kernot.

The team at Determined 2 undertook research to create a standardised plan for using Immersion Therapy in the rehabilitation of brain and physical injuries. The project engaged medical and allied health professionals to determine measurable outcomes and create a high-quality brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation program that demonstrates enhanced brain plasticity.

The project aimed to increase life opportunities, including choice and control for participants, and increase their adjustment to injury.

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Page last updated: 30 September 2020