Research to assist vital disability services to move online

21 OCTOBER 2022

Research to assist vital disability services to move online

Charles Sturt's Three Rivers DRH is collaborating with two Local Health Districts to produce research investigating the increased need for vital disability services to be more readily available online.

  • Charles Sturt’s Three Rivers DRH collaborates with Western NSW LHD and South Western Sydney LHD on research project
  • The project was awarded more than $300,000 in funding
  • It will investigate the increased need for virtual services delivery for people with intellectual disability

A collaboration between Charles Sturt University, Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) and South Western Sydney LHD has been awarded more than $300,000 for a research project to assist the increased need for virtual services delivery.

The partnership involves the two LHDs and Charles Sturt’s Three Rivers Department of Rural Health and the project is titled ‘Feasibility, acceptability, resource implications and early outcome indicators of Specialist Intellectual Disability Services delivered virtually’.

group photoPrincipal Research Fellow with Three Rivers DRH Associate Professor Melissa Nott and Disability Strategy Manager of Allied Health and Innovation Directorate with NSW Health Merryn John are the chief investigators. They will be supported by staff from the Specialist Intellectual Disability Teams at Western NSW LHD and South Western Sydney LHD.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated a rapid shift from face-to-face services to virtual care and highlighted the challenges and opportunities created by providing online care.

The project aims to inform the future direction of virtual care service delivery for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. It will also co-design resources that support engagement of clients, families and clinicians in virtual care.

“People with intellectual disability have a right to participate in and experience the benefits of virtual healthcare,” Professor Nott said.

“Understanding how to best deliver virtual healthcare for people with intellectual disability will ensure access to specialist services in areas of geographical remoteness and provide a sustainable model of care in rural and regional New South Wales.”

The three most important outcomes of the study will be:

  • The Model of Care for people with intellectual disability in NSW will be informed by practice-based evidence that includes virtual care as standard.
  • People with intellectual disability experience greater quality of life by having equal choice and access to specialised healthcare, despite geographical location.
  • Clinicians will have evidence-informed tools and resources to support their use of virtual care for people with intellectual disability.

The project is funded from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2024 under the NSW Health Translational Research Grants Scheme.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Associate Professor Melissa Nott, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0429 217 026 or news@csu.edu.au.

To arrange interviews with Western NSW Local Health District, contact Kate Fotheringham on 0418 673 033. To arrange interviews with South West Sydney Local Health District, contact Mandy Perrin on 0417 697 079.

Three Rivers Department of Rural Health is funded under the Australian Government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program. Three Rivers DRH aims to improve the recruitment and retention of nursing, midwifery, allied health and dentistry professionals in rural and remote Australia.

Photo caption: (Image 2) Principal Research Fellow, Charles Sturt University Three Rivers Department of Rural Health Melissa Nott, Acting Disability Strategy Manager, Western NSW Local Health District Merryn John, Clinical Nurse Consultant and Acting Team Leader Specialist Intellectual Disability Health Team, Western NSW Local Health District Alison Devitt, Acting Disability Project Manager, Western NSW Local Health District Lisa Maxley and Director, Charles Sturt University Three Rivers Department of Rural Health Christine Howard.

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