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Developing a sustainable research capacity building program for community based dementia services: SPEAKE

Dr Megan Heffernan, Dr Tiffany Jessop, Professor Belinda Goodenough, Ms Ruby Tsang
Research Centre DCRC Assessment and Better Care
Partner Institution centre-based | Partially funded by a DCRC KT Small Grant
Project Description


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In Australia, policy and resources are aimed at supporting people with dementia to remain at home. Despite this, 1-in-3 people with dementia in the community do not access formal services. Understanding why people do not engage with services is important as unmet needs are associated with negative outcomes. However, there is currently a lack of evidence for successful community based dementia services.

One way to improve evidence-based practice in community care is to build research capacity within the sector. A successful model of research capacity building is a scheme of small grants to fund participant initiated research, in tandem with ongoing support. A key challenge to sustainability of such programs is ongoing provision of research grants.

This study aims to demonstrate the feasibility of a sustainable research capacity building program for community based dementia organisations. An Australian-wide survey of management level staff at community based aged care services will be conducted to understand current use of and attitudes to research.

Using the information from the survey, a short-course has been developed.

It aims to build research skills and confidence among staff:



The Dementia SPEAKE

(Service Providers’ Evaluation and
Knowledge Exchange)

The effectiveness of the Dementia SPEAKE program will be assessed using a pre-post design. Self-rated research skills and confidence will be measured at baseline, 1 week and 4-months post-workshop.



Do you work in a community-based aged care organisation? Do you know about the evaluation/data collection methods that your service uses?

We at the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, are conducting a survey of community based organisations who provide services for older people living in the community.

read more here....


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