Earlier this month I was invited back to Australia for another research visit to Monash University. I was invited to visit Melbourne last year for a research visit and to present at a one-day seminar. This was along with two other UK colleagues from Birmingham and York, who also specialise in falls prevention (one is a geriatrician and the other a nurse). The three of us were invited back and this time we presented at two one-day seminars.
Day 1: The first day was focused on falls prevention among older people. I was invited to give two presentations, one on an area of long-term interest to me; increasing older people’s uptake and adherence to falls prevention interventions. The other was to present findings on a pilot project funded by all the RCUK’s and departments of health (led by the MRC), on the topic of outdoor falls. This led to some interesting discussions, and it was also useful to hear other presentations from leading researchers from Sydney.
Day 2: The second day focused on patient safety. Some challenging issues were discussed such as learning lessons from mid-Staffs. There was also some discussion of preventive medicine, and I was invited to lead a workshop on behaviour change techniques to increase participation in physical activity interventions for the prevention of falls.
Before the two one-day seminars, we had some engaging discussions sharing about the research being conducted at our respective institutions. This included work that will lead to an international position paper on how to advance the science of falls prevention research. We also visited a local hospital whereby we were invited for a Question Time type meeting, with the three of us UK visitors plus our host (Dr Anna Barker, Monash University) were quizzed on falls prevention in the hospital setting(!). This proved stimulating and interesting that the same issues being tackled over here are similar to what is experienced at the other side of the world. We also had the excitement of the first participant to be recruited into the RESPOND trial in which I am a collaborator. The RESPOND trial is a multi-site randomised controlled trial that will test the effectiveness of a patient-centred programme to prevent secondary falls in older people presenting to the emergency department with a fall. The protocol paper should be published in the near future…
And the koala…
Before heading back to the UK I managed to get 24 hours in Adelaide to visit a colleague who visited the UK back in around 2007. We’ve kept in touch over the years as her PhD was on a similar theme to mine around the psychological barriers to older people’s participation in falls prevention interventions. We managed to get to a zoo and queue up for the much awaited cuddle with a koala. This was fab; like cuddling a teddy bear that is alive! My hosts also kindly arranged for a fish and chip meal on the beach before catching the flight home (felt a terribly British thing to do!).
On the whole this was a good visit to do. It led to several useful discussions that I have taken back with me that will shape my research direction, both in the immediate future with my current grant proposal writing and subsequent proposals. It was also useful to strengthen the collaboration between our institutions and engage in useful dialogue with practitioners about the issues I as a researcher am trying to help them overcome.
Dr Samuel Nyman
BUDI and Psychology Research Centre