Caring Futures Institute Conference embarks on 2030 ambitions


New health research at the Caring Futures Institute is fostering strong partnerships between Flinders University and aged care service providers, engaging with the arts for improved healthcare outcomes, investigating barriers for pregnant South Australian women, and highlighting areas of immediate action for improving care transitions for older people.

These ambitious research endeavorers were highlighted at the 2022 Caring Futures Institute Conference: Care Ambition 2030, which brought together Flinders University partners and researchers at Bedford Park and showcased the powerful impacts from working collaboratively to create innovative lifelong health and care outcomes.

With the conference focused on ‘forging partnerships for a better future’, the Caring Futures Institute team showcased innovative projects across aged care, disability and community inclusion, midwifery, and community health and the arts.

Presentations included Professor Sue Gordon and Ivy Diegmann on the the close relationship between research strategy, development and translation, and business and clinical innovation; Professor Sally Robinson and Jala Burton on embedding co-design into studies; Professor Gillian Harvey and Professor Maria Crotty on the value of bringing together key stakeholders; and Dr Sarah Hunter and Dr Natasha Schranz on partnering with Wellbeing SA.

Many industry and community representatives, including health carers and decision-makers, attended in-person, with others connecting online.

Hosted by Julie McCrossin AM, the conference was opened with a Welcome to Country by Frank Wangutya Wanganeen, followed by Flinders University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling discussing the success of the College’s research initiatives, and Sarah Andrews MP (SA State Member for Gibson), who spoke about the future of health care in South Australia.

Professor Alison Kitson presenting at the 2022 Caring Futures Institute Conference: Care Ambition 2030.

Vice President and Executive Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor Alison Kitson, says the ambition is for every person to know that the care they get is as awesome as the medical excellence that treats their diseases.

“We should never think that we have to choose between medical excellence and care excellence – we need both and that’s what our future vision will deliver.”

Professor Annette Briley at the Caring Futures Institute.

Professor Professor Annette Briley, working in partnership with NALHN’s Women’s and Children’s Division, spoke about a project recruiting 300 pregnant women from diverse backgrounds at the Lyell McEwin Hospital to gauge actions they have taken or would take to address iron deficiency. This research team, supported by clinical midwives Kelly Robinson and Michelle Costello (employed by SA Health), will target women attending their first antenatal visit, as well as those in the day unit receiving an iron infusion.

Professor Briley says low iron counts are a common physiological consequence of pregnancy, with about 38 per cent of women globally experience iron deficiency or anaemia. In Australia, about 15.1% of women are affected.

Funded by BloodSafe, the research addresses a lack of contemporary data currently available and Professor Briley says the project is long overdue. Fellow Flinders Caring Futures Institute researcher Dr Megan Cooper is also a key part of the project team.

“We want to determine why some women are iron deficient while others are not,” says Professor Briley. “Is it because they have better health literacy? Do they have a modified diet, or have they been taking iron supplements before they got pregnant? And where are they accessing information on iron deficiency and potential solutions for fixing it?

Partnership conversations were presented at the conference by various Caring Futures Institute researchers and partnership representatives, including:

Lining Up The Ducks: Professor Sue Gordon (Research Director and Workforce Capability Lead, ARIIA and Caring Futures Institute) and Ivy Diegmann (General Manager, Service Design, ACH Group).

The Pinnaroo Project: Sara Noonan (Research Associate, Caring Futures Institute) and Julie Wallis and Deb Colwill (Pinnaroo Project community members).

Stronger together: research co-design in sensitive topics: Professor Sally Robinson (Professor of Disability and Community Inclusion, Caring Futures Institute) and Jala Burton (Community researcher, Flinders University).

A partnership between Wellbeing SA and Flinders University to support parents and caregivers in the early years: Dr Sarah Hunter (Research Fellow, A Healthy Start to Life, Flinders University) and Dr Natasha Schranz (Early Years, Children and Young People, Health Promotion Branch, Prevention and Population Health Directorate, Wellbeing SA).

Growing innovation through partnership: Flinders and NALHN working together for change: Professor Annette Briley (Women’s Health and Midwifery Research, Caring Futures Institute) and Meredith Hobbs (Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Clinical Governance and Risk Service, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN).

Building partnerships to improve and innovate in rehabilitation, aged and palliative care — a vision for world-class service: Professor Gillian Harvey (Matthew Flinders Fellow, Theme Lead: Better Systems) and Petra Bierer (Acting Co-Director, Division of Rehabilitation, Aged and Palliative Care at Southern Adelaide Health Network (SALHN).

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