ON-TRAC Project: Charles Sturt University’s $600K grant to transform mental health in transitioning aged care

Charles Sturt University’s Ageing Well in Rural and Regional Australia Research Group has secured a $600,000 grant from The Ian Potter Foundation to launch the “Improving the Mental Health of Older Australians Navigating the Transition to Residential Aged Care” (ON-TRAC) Project.

The five-year initiative aims to enhance mental health outcomes for elderly individuals transitioning into residential aged care facilities. Notably, the project stands out for its direct partnerships with industry stakeholders, including Uniting AgeWell in Victoria and Tasmania, St Agnes Care and Lifestyle in Port Macquarie, and researchers from the National Ageing Research Institute and Federation University.

Led by Dr Shanna Fealy and a multidisciplinary team, the ON-TRAC project will address depression and anxiety, prevalent issues in older adults in residential aged care.

“The aged care sector is confronted with immense challenges, necessitating a comprehensive transformation of its framework which was outlined in the recent findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety”

Dr Shanna Fealy, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow for the Sturt Scheme funded research group

The initiative aligns with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, recognising the need for comprehensive transformation in the aged care sector.

The grant, totalling $600,000 over five years, reflects the importance of advancing mental health in older Australians during the critical transition from home to residential care, addressing challenges outlined by the Royal Commission.

The project’s collaborative approach involves co-design, co-production, trial, evaluation, and implementation with input from older Australians, informal carers, industry providers, and researchers.

Overall project funding, including leveraged funds and in-kind contributions, amounts to $1,674,333. The grant’s focus on prevention and strong collaborations aligns with the pressing need to address high rates of depression in this demographic.


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