The new Aged Care Centre for Growth and Translational Research, or ARIIA, has an important role in supporting transformational change in aged care by addressing critical issues relating to evidence, partnership, growth, and translation. There has been much written about the need for change and there is a significant reform agenda that is in place. This is running alongside a period of great stress for the sector as it confronts the reality of COVID-19 and workforce and business challenges.
Introducing new programs and resources in this contest is not easy. The Knowledge and Implementation Hub is a core part of ARIIA and will act as a central point in bringing together evidence and practical resources that address major issues for the aged care sector. This connection to the sector is important if resources are to be relevant and meaningful. The first four aged care priority topics the Hub has developed were identified in a survey open to aged care consumers, workforce, providers, and industry partners.
The priority topics identified which now have resources are:
- Dementia care
- Rehabilitation, reablement and restorative care
- Social isolation
- Mental health and well-being.
So how do you create meaningful resources for such important topics which also encourage use? This was the challenge facing the Knowledge and Implementation Hub project team. We knew it was not sufficient to just provide academic evidence summaries although we knew that solid evidence should underpin translational change and growth. Evidence also needs to be actionable and useful. The strategic approach we have taken can be outlined as follows:
- Working with the sector to find out what topics are most important to them
- Using best practice methods to search for, appraise and synthesise the evidence we find
- Undertaking a scoping review of the published research evidence and an environmental scan for practical tools and resources for each aged care topic
- Working with an expert advisory group of end users, aged care staff, and content experts who understand the topic, can assess the quality and value of the evidence, and consider its relevance to the aged care sector
- Creating online resources that are accessible, interesting, and mobile
- Setting up an integrated knowledge resource and knowledge dissemination framework to support movement of the knowledge into the sector
- Building in feedback loops and opportunities for participation.
We are fortunate to have been able to bring to ARIIA and the Knowledge and Implementation Hub, strengths and expertise that has been developed in establishing CareSearch and palliAGED. These are major projects being delivered through the Research Centre for Palliative Care, Death and Dying (RePaDD) at Flinders University. Importantly this prior experience has been instrumental in developing frameworks and quality processes for evidence retrieval and synthesis, online delivery, and digital translation in the new Centre.
The next two years will see a rapid expansion in the aged care topics available to support the sector as well as new resources which will provide evidence and resources that support translational and growth issues for the sector. To achieve this be need to bring together evidence, partnership, translation and growth and we invite you to get involved.