ARIIA grants for 11 more aged care collaborations

A toolkit to help providers introduce activity-monitoring technologies and a video app to connect aged care recipients with volunteers are among innovations to receive development funding.

Projects to develop a toolkit to help aged care providers introduce activity-monitoring technologies and a video app to connect aged care recipients with volunteers are among 11 aged care innovation projects funded this week.

Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia announced the recipients of the second round of its grants program on Monday. The grants aim to benefit the aged care sector through the development and translation of high-quality projects that address important gaps in the aged care workforce’s capability and knowledge.

These grants target five priority areas identified in consultation with the sector to improve aged care including:

  • dementia care
  • rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • social isolation
  • urgent and critical need.
Gretel Analytics dashboard and heatmap

Technology start-up Gretel Analytics in partnership with Peninsula Health and Monash University has received a grant to develop a toolkit for care providers. As previously reported, Gretel Analytics’ sensor-based smart building solution uses computer vision data and other dynamic data streams and real-time alerts to target issues like response to falls, boundary transgressions, aggressive behaviour, adequate socialisation and contact tracing as well as track how many minutes of care a resident receives.

Georgie Armstrong

Gretel Analytics chief executive officer Georgie Armstrong said she was delighted to be awarded an ARIIA grant.

“Our research project is about balancing the tension between the ability to provide meaningful reporting through observation technology, and adhering to data collection and management practices which maintain the consumer’s dignity and privacy as a priority,”  Ms Armstrong told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“In collaboration with Monash University we will be developing and disseminating a toolkit to help care providers build social license to introduce activity-monitoring technologies and processes within the care environment. We’ll be engaging with community stakeholders as we co-design a framework required to respectfully and effectively leverage data in care – for safer care environments and better quality of life.”

Digital transformation is essential to achieve transparency, efficiency and quality in aged care, Ms Armstrong said. “Funding for a project like ours ensures consumers, families, carers and unions are all onboard and heard during this transformation process.”

Professor Sue Gordon

ARIIA research director Professor Sue Gordon said the standard of applications was again high.

“ARIIA Grants enable aged care providers and research organisations to work together and partner with others to deliver improvements in areas of need, and as they must make a co-contribution to their project, they have a firm commitment to it,” Professor Gordon said.

Successful grant recipients must undertake their project over 12 months, which means research discoveries are translated into real work benefits in real-time, she said.

Also awarded a grant is the Dossy Project – Community Connect, which is a collaboration between technology-start up Dossy, aged care provider Uniting Agewell, University of Melbourne, and digital product studio Two Bulls. Dossy is a simple video app that connects older people with their loved ones.

Dossy is a video app to connect older people with their loved ones, and now volunteers

Most of the grant funds are going towards building a technology platform for older people to reach out to digital volunteers from all walks of life, said Dossy founder Kristen Graham.

Kristen Graham

“As we age our social networks get smaller. Some older adults don’t have family or close contacts they can call on when they feel lonely or isolated. Dossy gives them an immediate community ready and waiting for them to connect at all times of day and night,” Ms Graham told AAA. “The ARIIA funding is helping us build, pilot and validate whether Dossy can in fact reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation through meaningful video connections.”

The first phase 1 of The Dossy Project – Family Connect, which wrapped up in December, validated that simple technology could help people to connect. This second phase kicks off in March. The project is committed to co-design to ensure the technology is valuable and makes a difference to people’s lives, Ms Graham said.

“The University of Melbourne is helping do this with their pre- and post-evaluations of everyone involved in the pilot, including participants, and their families, volunteers, carers and aged care providers. Anything we develop needs to be scalable, affordable and reliable. It’s also a way to provide volunteers with flexibility to give back during the hours they choose,” she said.

Watch this video to find out more about the collaborative project:

Round 2 grant winners

The full list of grant recipients in ARIIA’s second grant round – and the priorities they address in parentheses – includes:

  • Dossy Company, Uniting Agewell, University of Melbourne, and Two Bulls, for the Dossy Project – Community Connect. This video app will connect aged care clients with volunteers in an intuitive, meaningful way (social isolation).
  • The University of Sydney, Frank Widdon Masonic Homes of NSW, and Uniting Agewell, for their TOP UP Study. This projects aims to improve mobility in aged care by evaluating the effectiveness and acceptability of telehealth physiotherapy programs for mobility and falls in older people (dementia, rehabilitation, reablement, and restorative care, and urgent and critical need).
  • The Violet Initiative, Hammond Care, Estia Health, and the University of Wollongong for the Violet Aged Care Industry Solution. This workforce development training program encompasses targeted consumer support to build the wellbeing and resilience of formal and informal caregivers of people in the last stage of life and reduce the social isolation for them and their families during this time (social isolation and mental health and wellbeing).
  • Hammond Care, the University of Sydney, and the University of Technology Sydney for their high-quality palliative and end-of-life care education and training program for aged care staff to engender a culture of skilled and compassionate care for residents and their families (dementia and urgent and critical need).
  • Flinders University, the Australian Nursing Home Foundation, Chinese Australian Services Society, and the Chinese Welfare Services of SA for their project that optimises support for Chinese carers of people with dementia. This includes a skills training program and the embedding of iSupport in routine aged care services (dementia).
  • The University of South Australia, Tanunda Lutheran Home, Tyree Foundation Institute of Health Engineering, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, and Healthy Care Services, for the ADEPT project. This features a digitally enabled pharmacist service to detect and manage medicine harms in residential aged care (urgent and critical need).
  • Dementia Australia, BUPA, and Deakin University for their project that uses technology to transform workforce capability and capacity to improve the quality of care delivered to people living with dementia (dementia, rehabilitation, reablement, and restorative care, and urgent and critical need).
  • Gretel Analytics, Peninsula Health and Monash University for their development of a toolkit to build social license into the implementation of activity monitoring in residential aged care settings (dementia, rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care, and social isolation).
  • Southern Cross Care, Bond University and Robert Gordon University for their project that aims to enable better discharge pathways for older people to get back into the community following short-term restorative programs (rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care).
  • The James Anthony Group and Anglicare SA for CareWindow. The video calling device enables two-way audio communication between those in aged care and their families (dementia, social isolation and mental health and wellbeing).
  • Bay & Basin Community Resources, ExSitu, the University of Wollongong and Carers NSW for the development of a blueprint for values-based care plans that address the unique challenges faced by ageing people living in regional areas (dementia, rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care, social isolation, mental health and wellbeing, and urgent and critical need).

Next grant round open

The ARIIA Grants Program consists of at least six rounds funded against key sector priorities of focus for the aged care sector that are revised each grant round. The five winners in the first round were announced in November. Round 3 recipients will be announced soon.

Round 4 is currently open with applications closing on 17 February 2023. Additional priority areas for this round include:

  • dementia care
  • restorative care, reablement and rehabilitation
  • social isolation
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • urgent and critical need
  • palliative care and end of life
  • meaningful lifestyle activities
  • addressing staff burnout to increase retention of the aged care workforce.

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Tags: ARIIA, dossy, featured, georgie armstrong, gretel analytics, kristen-graham, professor sue gordon,

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