Knowledge Translation To Practice & Policy

Knowledge translation is vital for researcher to translate new knowledge and services into practice to deliver outcomes. Education and training will help us deliver a competent frailty clinical and research workforce.

  • Knowledge translation and the CRE in frailty

    Lead investigators: Professor Alison Kitson and Dr. Mandy Archibald

    Professor Alison Kitson and Dr. Mandy Archibald lead the work around Knowledge Translation (KT) on behalf of the members of the CRE Team. Knowledge Translation methods are used to promote the effective transfer of research findings into practice and policy. The CRE is guided by a collaborative, co-design approach to KT, which involves key stakeholders from the start and through each component of our work.

    The first activity within the KT stream was to find out what non-frail, pre-frail, and frail older adults and various health care provider groups understand about frailty and frailty screening. We recently completed this work with 39 older persons from residential aged care and community living, and have generated a nuanced understanding of the various ways that older persons understand frailty, and their attitudes towards frailty screening. Of particular interest is that often people see frailty as an inevitable consequence of aging, something that when occurs cannot be rectified, and something they generally know very little about.

    However, because research shows that prevention is possible, and early identification and management can slow and reverse the progression of frailty for some people, we have developed innovative means of getting these messages out to the public. These creative methods build directly on the research of the CRE and incorporate the perspectives and needs of stakeholders, since a wide range of strategies are needed to adequately engage and inform the public, policy makers, and health care professionals about frailty.

    For example, as part of our work using consumer experiences to help inform health care delivery, we are co-designing video resources with consumers, frailty researchers and health care providers to help raise awareness about what frailty is and what can be done about it. We collaborate on numerous projects incorporating people’s experiences into interventions and care delivery. We are using creative arts-based methods to improve public engagement with the research, raise awareness about frailty, and spark much needed conversations. For example, Archibald led a team of artists to create a research based dance performance entitled "Untangling Frailty", supported by a grant from Inspiring South Australia, which won first place in South Australia's perform your science competition, and will host a public art exhibition in response to the data collected from the CRE, entitled "Beyond Measure", opening April 11th, 2019, at praxis ARTSPACE.

    A second important activity within the KT stream is to generate an understanding of how the complexities of transdisciplinary team work influence knowledge translation within the team. This has involved a longitudinal study with CRE investigators to generate a working theory of this complex relationship. This study is among the first of its kind internationally and will enable us to identify strategies to help maximize team functioning for improved impact. Investigators Dr. Michael Lawless (Flinders University) and Dr. Gillian Harvey (University of Adelaide) are collaborators on this project.

    By using innovative knowledge translation and co-design approaches, we strive to create ways to ensure the research findings from the CRE projects achieve their greatest impact.

    Media contact: Dr Mandy Archibald

  • Medical students’ perceptions of the importance of exercise and their perceived competence in prescribing exercise to older people

    Lead investigators: Dr Agathe Daria Jadczak, Dr Khai Tam, Assoc Prof Solomon Yu, Professor Renuka Visvanathan

    Medical students’ perceptions of the importance of exercise and their perceived competence in prescribing exercise to older people

    General practitioners play an important role in helping increase awareness as well as encouraging older people to participate in exercise. However, exercise for older people is not a focus of many undergraduate medical curriculums and is poorly taught across medical education programs. It is therefore not surprising that many doctors cite that a lack of formal education courses during medical school is one reason why they might not prescribe exercise. Given our ageing demographic and the benefits of exercise in the elderly, the improvement of our medical teaching program is one critical strategy in building the future capacity of our medical workforce thus equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills that will ultimately result in greater participation in physical activity by our older consumers.

    In 2015, we administered pre and post course surveys to our 5th year medical students undertaking our geriatric medicine program. Through these surveys, we were investigating student’s perception about the importance of exercise for older people and their self-reported competency in prescribing exercise to older people. Based on these research findings, we introduced a 1.5 hour physical activity module including a one hour exercise tutorial combined with a 30 minute practical counselling session and demonstrated that the module impacted positively on medical students’ perceived competence in prescribing exercise to older adults. We could also demonstrate that these effects sustained for up to two years after the intervention.

    Media contact: Dr Agathe Daria Jadczak

  • Self-perceived importance and competence of 5th year medical students in assessing, diagnosing and managing frailty before and after a fifth year geriatric medicine course

    Lead investigators: PhD candidate Dr Beatriz Martins, Chief Investigator Professor Renuka Visvanathan, Chief Investigator Dr Helen Ruth Barrie, Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Joanne Dollard and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Agathe Daria Jadczak

    Frailty should be an important topic thought within the undergraduate medical curriculum. With population ageing, future doctors should be better prepared to meet the challenges arising from frailty risk or frailty, given population ageing globally. Student’s perceptions of the importance and their competence in assessing, diagnosing and managing frailty were assessed before and after a 5th year geriatric medicine course in 2017. Our preliminary results show that with an appropriate curriculum, relating to frailty, students perceived competence as well as their perception of the importance of the topic improves, and should be included in to all undergraduate medical curricula.

    Media contact: Dr Beatriz Martins