Occupational Therapy research
Alfred Health’s occupational therapists work to better understand how engagement in daily activities (care of self, others, home, work, and community) supports health.
The research activities of the occupational therapy service at Alfred Health focus on development of innovative practice, efficacy of interventions, and the translation of research into practice.
We engage in research to enhance our evidence-based clinical decision making across all clinical areas, with particular focus across the Alfred Health strategic areas of:
- Musculoskeletal conditions.
About our research
Our research program is Chaired by Professor Natasha Lannin and overseen by our manager, Dr Karen Roberts. We work in partnership with our clinician researcher team to actively build our international occupational therapy profile through collaborative research. Central to our achievements are our Research and Quality Leads who are based at The Alfred (Dr Emma Schneider) and Caulfield Hospital (Jacqui Wheatcroft). Together we develop research capability within the department and support clinicians to seek, use and develop best available evidence to support our occupational therapy practices.
Alfred Health Occupational Therapy research is supported by a collaborative partnership with Monash University, as well grant and student supervision partnerships with The University of Sydney, Flinders University, La Trobe University, Australian Catholic University and Deakin University. We continue to support Honours programs and welcome opportunities to collaborate with Universities to support student research projects within our Department.
In addition to the support we receive from Universities, our research is supported by The Alfred Foundation and Alfred Research Trust and externally supported from national competitive schemes, including the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Medical Research Futures Fund, the Heart Foundation of Australia, the Stroke Foundation, and the Transport Accident Commission (Vic).
Our clinician research team publish the findings from their research in peer-reviewed journals, present at National and International conferences, and disseminate their research through online webinars and teaching opportunities.
Some of our research publications can be seen here.
Each year, we support our staff to engage in post-graduate studies, both research and coursework, which enables our team to tackle important questions in occupational therapy, rehabilitation, and life-long engagement. Around 20 of our clinicians are enrolled in higher degrees within our Occupational Therapy Department. Behind every great research student is a comprehensive support network - that’s why Alfred Health Occupational Therapy Department facilitates a post-graduate support group who meet regularly throughout the year.
Awards and Prizes
Alfred Health Occupational Therapy clinician researchers are regularly rewarded and acknowledged for their research outcomes and impact with external awards and prizes.
Some of our past awards have included:
- Dr Laura Jolliffe was awarded the 2019-2020 Occupational Therapy Australia award for Best Clinical Researcher [National]
- Louise Meikle, Megan White and Alicia Herrmann received the Best Poster award at the 2019 OTA National Conference for their study "Education for inpatients with cognitive impairments: a scoping review”
- Dr Emma Schneider was awarded the Henrietta Law Research Prize – Alfred Health for Best Novice Allied Health Researcher 2019 for her study "Adult stroke survivors with upper limb spasticity set goals focused on activity limitations and participation restriction”
- Anna Kennedy, Emma Schneider and Natasha Lannin received the Best Poster award at the 2019 Victorian Allied Health conference, and Alfred Health Week 2019 Poster Prize for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Award for their study "The Impact of Occupational Therapy in a Targeted Therapy in Acute Rehabilitation Program at Alfred Hospital"
- Jacqui Wheatcroft, Kelly Chait and Brittni Nielsen received an Alfred Health Week 2019 Caulfield Hospital Quality Project Award for their study "What is known about discharge planning for people with a spinal cord injury".
HOME Rehab Trial
The HOME Rehab Trial investigates whether one type of occupational therapy assessment (in-hospital or at home) is better than the other for improving recovery in patients after a stroke.Find out more
The purpose of the FAST – the Falls After Stroke Trial is testing a novel home exercise and safety training program delivered by occupational therapists and physiotherapists in the community. It aims to reduce the risk of falling and increase ability to return to meaningful daily life activities after stroke.Find out more
Decision-Aid Development: Arm and Hand Neurorehabilitation
Consistent with Alfred Health’s Patients Come First strategy, decisions about arm and hand therapy should be discussed with all patients, and with families and/or guardians.Find out more
The OUTCOME-ABI project is a longitudinal study evaluating a model of brain injury rehabilitation, with the aim of understanding the drivers for brain injury recovery.Find out more
Clinical Reasoning in Cognitive Rehabilitation
Jacqui Wheatcroft’s PhD studies are exploring occupational therapists’ clinical reasoning related to cognitive assessment and rehabilitation, and is supervised by Professor Carolyn Unsworth.Find out more
Cumulative incidence of carpal instability 12-24 months after fall onto outstretched hand
O'Brien L, Robinson L, Lim E, O'Sullivan H, Kavnoudias H
(2018), J Hand Ther, 31(3), 282-286
Using the cognitive interviewing process to improve survey design by allied health: A qualitative study
Howlett O, McKinstry C, Lannin NA
(2018), Aust Occup Ther J, 65(2), 126-134
A systematic review of the psychometric properties of the Action Research Arm Test in neurorehabilitation
Pike S, Lannin NA, Wales K, Cusick A
(2018), Aust Occup Ther J, 65(5), 449-471