Most older Australians will experience hearing, vision, speech, language, or cognitive changes that impact their ability to communicate. Over time, they will need support to express their care needs, choices, and concerns.

Currently, many aged care workers do not have the skills or resources to provide this support, resulting in a cycle where needs, choices, and concerns go unspoken, unheard, and unmet - critical preventative care is not received – and poor health outcomes are perpetuated. We will address these issues through co-design, implementation, and evaluation of "Better Conversations": a fit-for-purpose, interdisciplinary, multi-component intervention to support better conversations about care.

We will use Experience-Based Co-Design to explore enablers and barriers to effective, culturally responsive, and age-appropriate communication about care. We will work in partnership with older people, families, care workers and managers, and subject-matter experts to co-design an intervention that meets the needs of a diverse range of end users.

Following experience testing (usability and acceptability), we will evaluate our intervention in an implementation-effectiveness Cluster Randomised Control Trial. We will evaluate its feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness in improving care worker knowledge; care worker-recipient communication; and care recipient experience of care and loneliness (compared to usual care).

Our research is supported by strong Government, industry, and community partnerships. Through broad and meaningful engagement, we will produce an intervention that can be feasibly and sustainably implemented, at scale, across aged care settings, giving older Australians a voice. Read more about our progress to date: Research helping people to communicate for life

Project members

Chief Investigators

Associate Professor Sarah Wallace

NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Professor David Copland

Professor
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Co-Director, STARS Education & Research Alliance
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Associate Professor Anthony Angwin

Head of Speech Pathology
A/Prof in Speech Pathology
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Dr Kirstine Shrubsole

NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Professor Nerina Scarinci

Professor
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Associate Professor Asaduzzaman Khan

Assoc Professor in Biostatistics
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Associate Professor Geoff Argus (Director, Southern Queensland Rural Health)

  • Dr Aparna Arjunan (Qld Health)

  • Professor Deirdre Fetherstonhaugh (La Trobe University)

  • Professor Victoria Palmer (University of Melbourne)

  • Dr Samantha Siyambalapitiya (Griffith University)

  • Professor Joanne Wood (QUT)

 

Researchers

Dr Michelle King

Research Fellow
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Dr Asmita Manchha

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Ms Bridget Burton

Senior Project Officer & Casual Academic
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

PhD Student

Ms Bridget Burton

Senior Project Officer & Casual Academic
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Steering Committee (Associate Investigators & Partners)

  • Ms Leah Allen (Wesley Mission Queensland)
  • Dr Erin Conway (Australian Catholic University)
  • Ms Samantha Edmonds (Older Persons Advocacy Network)
  • Ms Sandra Glaister (Southern Cross Care Queensland)
  • Dr Barbra Timmer (Audiology Australia)
  • Ms Kym Torresi (Speech Pathology Australia)
  • Mr Peter Worboyes (Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland)
  • Dr Melanie Wroth (Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission)

Partner Universities & Organisations

  • Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
  • Audiology Australia 
  • Dementia Australia
  • Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland 
  • Griffith University
  • La Trobe University
  • Metro North Hospital and Health Service
  • Older Person’s Advocacy Network
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Southern Queensland Rural Health
  • Speech Pathology Australia
  • Southern Cross Care Queensland 
  • University of Melbourne
  • Wesley Mission Queensland 

Lived Experience Advisory Group

  • Ms Kristina Chelberg
  • Ms Gwenda Darling
  • Ms Lesley Forster
  • Ms Danijela Hliš
  • Ms Jen Muller
  • Mr Jeff Murray
  • Ms Jasmine Siggs

Contact

Associate Professor Sarah Wallace
s.wallace3@uq.edu.au

Dr Michelle King
michelle.king@uq.edu.au