NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research Tour

Pictured L to R: Professor Ralph Martins, Dr Vincent Mor and Professor Henry Brodaty AO.

The NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR) held the Sydney component of their National Public Lecture Tour at NeuRA in Sydney on Friday, 22 March 2019, featuring some of the world’s leading names in dementia research.

Co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), Professor Henry Brodaty AO, convened the Sydney program which showcased the latest in dementia care research and the challenges facing care in the community. The tour is part of the Australian Government’s Boosting Dementia Research Initiative, which saw talks in all major cities throughout March.

Professor Henry Brodaty said the lecture series was designed to engage leaders in dementia research and aged care to discuss the significant and growing challenge of improving quality of life and quality of dementia care.

Guest speaker was health services expert Dr Vincent Mor from Rhode Island’s Brown University; a world recognised dementia researcher and expert in working with big data. Dr Mor’s engaging presentation highlighted the complications that exist in developing research outcomes, particularly noting that research trials usually go no further than publication. He also pointed out the reality that even positive results within research may not be reproducible in the real world where interventions are not supported by a dedicated research team.

Dr Mor’s thought-provoking presentation gave rise to the question of how to test interventions shown to be effective in a non-research setting – such as nursing homes. He proceeded to outline his methodology of pilot testing an intervention in a small number of homes and then more rigorous testing in a very large number of homes in different states.

Ensuing presentations were made by Australian experts Professor Ralph Martins from Macquarie University, Professor Dimity Pond from the University of Newcastle and Dr Craig Sinclair from NeuRA, and jointly by Jeff Thurston and Sebastian Caruso (dementia advocates who, respectively, are living with dementia and a carer).

An open panel discussion followed which allowed an opportunity to identify strategies to help improve the care of people living with dementia in local communities. The discussion also provided researchers with the opportunity to consider Australian dementia care policy and practice within an international context and to be informed by the views of those with lived experience of dementia.

Director of NNIDR, Ms Janice Besch, acknowledged the importance of the national tour and extended thanks to the speakers for their involvement.”I’d like to thank all of our participants for sharing their insights, and in doing so, helping inform Australian dementia care research, policy and practice,” said Ms Besch.

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