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Research Strategy

Research at Benetas is guided by a rights-based approach that supports each person’s right to dignity, agency, inclusion and equality through research that is meaningful, relevant and practical.

It is our explicit aim to conduct research that guides innovative, evidence-informed programs and activities, and to facilitate the implementation of evidence into practice. In practice, we do this by:

  • Inviting clients, residents, their families, employees and other stakeholders to identify research opportunities and contribute to the research process
  • Conducting our research in a way that is transparent, participatory, accessible and responsive to the needs of older adults
  • Collaborating with other researchers to achieve shared goals
  • Ethical conduct in all research processes and practices
  • Taking an empathic approach to research, which respects participants’ individuality and integrates their insights as experts-by-experience
  • Producing findings that allow understanding and comparison between participants and contexts
  • Sharing and disseminating our findings in ways that maximise the potential of our research to inform policy and practice.

Our frequent collaboration with external research institutes, universities and other research networks strengthens our research processes, outcomes and impact.

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About Benetas

Research

At Benetas, we undertake strategic, co-ordinated research that makes a positive difference to the lives of older Victorians, their families and carers.

Every research project we undertake is designed to guide innovative, evidence-informed programs and activities.

By collaborating with other researchers, industry and government, we maximise the reach and potential of our work to inform advocacy, policy and practice.

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Current Research Projects

Advance care planning in retirement living

‘Short and sweet’ e-learning

Client Experience Surveys

Advance care planning (ACP) involves thinking about and documenting your preferences for future health care, should you temporarily or permanently lose decision-making capabilities. Although ACP has been shown to benefit individuals, relatives and health professionals, its take-up is low. The aim of this project is to understand the factors that influence the adoption of ACP in a retirement living setting.

Data collection has taken place at Dalkeith Heights, with residents and staff participating in individual interviews and/or a brief survey. Data analysis is now underway. Findings will inform the development of strategies and resources to support ACP in the retirement living context, which brings potential benefit to current and future residents, relatives or friends, and employees.

This project aims to understand the learning needs of community aged care workers and trial a micro-learning approach to evaluate acceptability and feasibility for the approach. For this project, we are collaborating with the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC), of which we are a member.

The project team has developed new content for the app-based micro-learning platform, which addresses the critical need for In-Home Service Assistants to recognise and respond to deterioration. The next step is to recruit a group of employees to trial the app-based learning, while another group receives the same education in an online presentation. Data collection and analysis will take place over the coming months.

Through regular, scheduled surveys, we identify areas of service provision that can be improved or changed in residential and community-based services. The findings also help us to identify the extent to which Benetas’ principles and values are reflected in clients’ experiences. In this way, our clients and their relatives inform our continuous quality improvement program.

These surveys are managed by the Research team, to ensure their independence and integrity of the process. We report our findings to managers, residents and their relatives, and employees.

Advance care planning in retirement living
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Advance care planning (ACP) involves thinking about and documenting your preferences for future health care, should you temporarily or permanently lose decision-making capabilities. Although ACP has been shown to benefit individuals, relatives and health professionals, its take-up is low. The aim of this project is to understand the factors that influence the adoption of ACP in a retirement living setting.

Data collection has taken place at Dalkeith Heights, with residents and staff participating in individual interviews and/or a brief survey. Data analysis is now underway. Findings will inform the development of strategies and resources to support ACP in the retirement living context, which brings potential benefit to current and future residents, relatives or friends, and employees.

‘Short and sweet’ e-learning
chevron Created with Sketch.

This project aims to understand the learning needs of community aged care workers and trial a micro-learning approach to evaluate acceptability and feasibility for the approach. For this project, we are collaborating with the Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC), of which we are a member.

The project team has developed new content for the app-based micro-learning platform, which addresses the critical need for In-Home Service Assistants to recognise and respond to deterioration. The next step is to recruit a group of employees to trial the app-based learning, while another group receives the same education in an online presentation. Data collection and analysis will take place over the coming months.

Client Experience Surveys
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Through regular, scheduled surveys, we identify areas of service provision that can be improved or changed in residential and community-based services. The findings also help us to identify the extent to which Benetas’ principles and values are reflected in clients’ experiences. In this way, our clients and their relatives inform our continuous quality improvement program.

These surveys are managed by the Research team, to ensure their independence and integrity of the process. We report our findings to managers, residents and their relatives, and employees.

 

Completed Projects

Smoothing the transition into residential care

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The aim of this project was to facilitate the transition from home into residential care, with a focus on supporting new residents’ mental health. By describing transition experiences and co-developing resources to support residents’ mental health, findings of this study provide practical, ‘real world’ suggestions for reducing relocation stress. New resources developed from the findings include guides, checklists and short question-and-answer films, in which current residents and staff describe strategies to support mental health and overall quality of life. The project was made possible with a grant from The Psyche Foundation.

Read more about the project and watch the films produced with and by residents.

Quality of life

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Quality of life is a complex concept that is difficult to quantify. In the Quality of Life Project, we’ve been working to identify and trial suitable measures of quality of life across our business areas. We conducted comprehensive reviews of the literature and best practice, and consulted with clients and employees in our community, residential and retirement services. We continue to work on ways to understand and measure quality of life outcomes, including in people living with cognitive impairment. This evidence informs our efforts to embed innovative practice that enables us to deliver a positive, fulfilling experience of ageing.

Best Life Model of Care Research

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Our Best Life Model of Care aims to provide a more holistic and home-like residential aged care experience than traditional models of care. A comprehensive evaluation of the new model, conducted by the Research team, has been used to inform continued refinement and implementation, and to contribute to the evidence base for best practice residential aged care.

Increasing intake of Calcium and Vitamin D

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This project looked at increasing the calcium and vitamin D intake of older people through an enhanced dairy menu. Led by the University of Melbourne and Austin Health, and funded by the Dairy Australia and an international dairy farmers’ consortium, Benetas was one of a number of aged care providers who participated. The findings informed better practice in nutrition requirements in aged care facilities in Australia.

Frailty in community dwelling older people

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This project, was funded by a 2015-2017 Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grant from the Commonwealth Department of Health. It aimed to validate and implement a simple self-completed tool that can accurately identify frailty. This means that older people who are at risk of increased dependency and/or mortality can be identified and provided with appropriate services to keep them well.

The project found that almost half of older Australians living in the community are frail (6%) or pre-frail (38%).

The project also validated the FRAIL Tool as a simple and reliable screening test which can be used in a variety of settings including telephone triage and general practice.

Part of the Frailty project is PARC: The Positive Ageing Resource Centre, which is now no longer accessible.

This offers a one-stop shop for people seeking support around frailty and health. The resource has been developed by Benetas with research support from Monash University.

At the launch of PARC, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said that providing opportunities for older people, and their carers, to self-manage their health and wellbeing in particular around Frailty was important to achieving positive health outcomes. “We want to ensure older people and their carers, wherever they live, have access to the supports and information they need to maintain their quality of life as they age,” Minister Wyatt said. “By providing practical and individualised tools such as PARC, we’re making sure that Frailty, and its serious consequences, can be identified and mitigated in older people.”

View the video

Download the final report (abridged version)

In 2019, Benetas launched the Positive Ageing Tool, which builds on the research and findings, and provides a simple Frailty health check, and a range of advice for people to understand their health check results.

Shared Connections

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This project was funded by Perpetual Trust (2014). This project trialled volunteers as mentors to assist older people at risk of social isolation to reconnect with their community through involvement in interest groups. The outcomes have informed social isolation initiatives at Benetas in the community setting.

Better Health Connections

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This project was funded by Department of Social Services (2013-2015), and was led by Benetas in partnership with Bayside Medicare Local. The project aimed to improve health and aged care pathways to optimise care for aged care recipients who are moving between sub-acute health and aged care services. The project identified barriers to access and developed tools and strategies to overcome these. Several academic journal articles have been published, including:

Davis J, Morgans A, Burgess S. (2016). Information management for aged care provision in Australia: development of an aged care minimum dataset and strategies to improve quality and continuity of care. Health Information Management Journal 45(1):27-35.

Davis J, Morgans A, Burgess S. (2016). Information management in the Australian aged care setting: An integrative review. Health Information Management Journal 46(1): 3-14.