A new project is aiming to tackle the growing concern of depression in older Australians who receive in-home aged care. With over one million Australians receiving in-home aged care, a lack of accessible and effective mental health treatments has become a pressing issue. However, a partnership between Swinburne University of Technology and leading home care provider Silverchain is seeking to address this problem with a digital intervention for depression for older adults living at home.
The project, called e-EMBED (Electronic-Enhanced Management of Home-Based Elders with Depression), has received funding from Aged Care Research and Industry Innovation Australia (ARIIA) and employs digital technologies to facilitate the delivery of effective psychological strategies to home care clients. This digital delivery allows older adults to engage with treatment strategies for depression on their own terms and access a range of resources to improve their well-being.
Swinburne clinical geropsychologist Professor Sunil Bhar explains that the project builds on previous work which found that older people were interested in using digital technologies to support their wellbeing. He emphasizes that the design of the final product needs to be carefully planned together with people with depressive symptoms based on their preferences, level of digital literacy, and comfort using technology to improve their health and wellbeing.
Silverchain Director of Research Discovery, Professor Tanya Davison, highlights that this is the first digitally-enabled mental health intervention developed specifically for the home aged care setting. The program will enable older Australians to access evidence-based treatments and communicate effectively with mental health clinicians in the comfort of their own homes. She notes that the team will develop new tools to tailor digitally enabled approaches to meet the needs and preferences of individual older people.
This project is an important step towards providing accessible and effective mental health treatments to older Australians who receive in-home aged care. With a focus on co-design and pilot testing, the partnership between Swinburne University of Technology and Silverchain is leading the way in developing innovative and tailored solutions for this growing concern.