Heart Foundation supports vanguard research at Deakin

Four grants will allow researchers to lead innovative projects targeting heart disease in 2017.
Deakin University has achieved outstanding success in the 2017 National Heart Foundation Vanguard Research scheme.

The grants aim to support Australia’s best and brightest minds to investigate the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease and related disorders.

The four successful Deakin researchers are Professor Anna Peeters (School of Health and Social Development), Professor Ralph Maddison and Dr Wei-Peng Teo (School of Exercise and Nutrition Science), and Professor Andrea Driscoll (School of Nursing).

The National Heart Foundation is a charity and the largest non-government funder of heart disease research in Australia.

The Vanguard Grants provide funding to test the feasibility of innovative concepts in public health or health services, including clinical service delivery.

The research projects are:

• Professor Anna Peeters, “Food and drink sale trends in Australia.”
This project aims to establish the first national monitoring system of food and drink sales. Its analyses of sales trends for discretionary food and drink groups will provide an indication of where public health messages are working and where they are not and provide a baseline for an ongoing monitoring system to capture population level information in response to future public health messaging and interventions.

• Professor Andrea Driscoll, “Development and validation of the FAST tool.”
This project will develop and validate a decision tool to assist clinicians to determine who can be safely discharged home from Emergency Departments (ED). The tool will be developed from clinical information collected from the ED short stay unit and validated on new patients presenting to ED. It will be an essential component of heart failure treatment in ED and prioritisation of services to improve heart failure care both within the hospital and at home and will result in a reduction of unnecessary hospital admissions.

• Professor Ralph Maddison “Improving self-management of heart failure.”
This project will test the feasibility of using wearable cameras to better understand and improve self-management practices in people with heart failure. It will inform the development of an intervention to enhance future self-management practices in this priority population. It will generate new knowledge to better understand self-management behaviours and inform future interventions to help people with heart failure.

• Dr Wei-Peng Teo “An online interactive virtual rehabilitation platform for community-dwelling stroke survivors.”
The lack of post-hospitalisation rehabilitation support for community-dwelling stroke survivors can hinder recovery in upper limb movement and lead to increased physical inactivity, resulting in co-morbidities such as diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. This project aims to determine the clinical effectiveness and user preferences of a low-cost online virtual therapy platform (STRIVE) for stroke rehabilitation in a community setting. Virtual therapy has consistently been shown to be a highly motivating way to deliver physical therapy. It is expected that the availability of the STRIVE system in the community will encourage therapy continuity and increase physical activity to optimise functional recovery after stroke.

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