Researcher

Keywords

Fields of Research (FoR)

Aged Health Care, Rehabilitation and Therapy: Occupational and Physi

Biography

Claire is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, UNSW, Senior Research Fellow (Honorary) with NeuRA, and Honorary Research Associate with HammondCare. She is also a registered occupational therapist (AHPRA). Claire holds a PhD in dementia (University of Sydney) that investigated behaviour and function in people living with frontotemporal dementia, and involved piloting an activity-based occupational therapy intervention with...view more

Claire is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, UNSW, Senior Research Fellow (Honorary) with NeuRA, and Honorary Research Associate with HammondCare. She is also a registered occupational therapist (AHPRA). Claire holds a PhD in dementia (University of Sydney) that investigated behaviour and function in people living with frontotemporal dementia, and involved piloting an activity-based occupational therapy intervention with this unique cohort. She is currently undertaking a Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) post doctoral fellowship to understand how to bridge the implementation gap to maximise everyday functioning for people living with dementia. Combining her clinical training in occupational therapy and research skills, Claire is passionate about contributing to research that is meaningful to ageing populations and people impacted by dementia.

Claire's PhD contributed increased knowledge around behaviour and function in frontotemporal dementia and highlighted the feasibility and acceptability of delivering non-pharmacological interventions in the community for activity engagement and behaviour management in this unique cohort. 

More recently, she was the project coordinator for the Reablement in Dementia project that led to development of the freely available Reablement Handbook, technical guide and consumer book, and was awarded Australian Association of Gerontology Research Trust funding to develop an Assessment Guide for evaluating meaningful reablement outcomes for people living with dementia. All of these resources are freely available: www.hammond.com.au/reablement. She was recently awarded Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) funding to lead a project evaluating the implementation of Arts on Prescription (AoP)@Home for people living with dementia and their supporters. 

Claire has presented her work widely (both nationally and internationally) and in 2017 was invited as a keynote speaker at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is regularly consulted as a peer reviewer for highly esteemed international journals (e.g. Ageing & Mental Health, BMC Geriatrics, Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Impairment, Cortex) as well as prestigious international meetings (e.g. World Federation of Occupational Therapy; AAIC) and sits on the editorial board for the Australian Journal of Dementia Care. 


My Grants

  • Jeon YH, Beattie E, Hill K, Mowszowski L, Togher L, Comans T, Poulos C, O’Connor C, Allman-Farinellil M. Optimising functional and social independence and safety of older people living with dementia in care homes: Implementation research. NHMRC Partnership Project (APP 2014821). 2022-27. [Role: CI]
  • O’Connor C, Anstey K, Poulos C, Kurrle S. Bridging the implementation gap: maximising everyday function for people with dementia. Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) Post-doctoral Fellowship. 2022-26. [Role: PI]
  • Fisher A, Cheung SC, O’Connor C, Piguet P. Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) for individuals with frontotemporal dementia: increasing service and family capacity through a mentoring and training model. Association for Frontotemporal Dementia Pilot Grant. 2022-23. [Role: AI]
  • Cheung SC, Fisher A, O’Connor C, Piguet P. Supporting changed behaviours: Positive Behaviour Support in younger-onset dementia. Dementia Australia Research Foundation Dementia Grants Program. 2022-24. [Role: AI]
  • Poulos R, Cole A, Poulos C, Faux S, Nguyen TA, Kohler F, Hilvert D, Alexander T, Capell J, O’Connor C. Developing a model for rehabilitation in the home (RITH), as hospital substitution for the reconditioning rehabilitation impairment codes. Medibank Better Health Research Grant. 2021-22.  [Role: CI]
  • Poulos C, Griffin N, O’Connor C. HammondCare Darlinghurst: Quantifying the social impact of the residential aged care home for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Erica Foundation Grant. 2021-22. [Role: CI]
  • O’Connor C, Poulos R, Poulos C, Heldon M, Beattie E. Implementing Arts on Prescription (AoP)@Home for people living with dementia and their family carers. Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) Implementing Research Evidence into Practice Grants. 2021-22. [Role: PI]
  • O’Connor C. Maximising functioning in dementia: translating reablement research to practice. Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) Travel Grant 2020. [Role: PI]
  • O'Connor C, Poulos C. Developing an assessment guide for practitioners implementing reablement programs for people living with dementia. Australian Association of Gerontology RM Gibson Research Fund 2019-20. [Role: PI]
  • Piguet O, Fisher A, O’Connor C. Positive Behaviour Support for individuals with frontotemporal dementia: a family education program. Charles Perkins Centre Active Ageing Research Node Seeding Grant 2018-19. [Role: AI]
  • Bennett et al. New Ways for Better Days: Tailoring activities for persons with dementia and their caregivers - Tailored Activity Program-Australia (TAP-Australia). NHMRC Boosting Dementia Project Grant (NHMRC APP1137749) 2018-21 [Role: AI]

My Qualifications

B. Sci (Med), MOT (Hons), PhD


My Awards

2019 – 2021 NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration Capacity Building in Care Research Fellowship


My Research Activities

Claire's current research activities include projects such as:

  • Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) Post-doctoral Fellowship: Bridging the implementation gap: maximising everyday functioning for people with dementia (Role: PI) 2022-2026
  • Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) Implementing Research Evidence into Practice Grant: Implementing Arts on Prescription (AoP)@Home for people living with dementia and their family carers (Role: PI) 2020-2022
  • NHMRC Partnership Project (APP 2014821): Optimising functional and social independence and safety of older people living with dementia in care homes: Implementation research (Role: CI) 2022-2027
  • Association for Frontotemporal Dementia Pilot Grant: Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) for individuals with frontotemporal dementia: increasing service and family capacity through a mentoring and training mode (Role: AI) 2022-2023
  • Dementia Australia Research Foundation Dementia Grants Program: Supporting changed behaviours: Positive Behaviour Support in younger-onset dementia (Role: AI) 2022-2024

She also maintains collaborations with broader research teams, for example, is a member of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research Special Interest Group in Rehabilitation and Dementia, the StepUp for Dementia Research: Research Involvement Panel, and was recently an invited contributor to a Package of Rehabilitation Interventions for the WHO 2020-21 and for the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) dementia module guideline 2021-22.


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

My research specialty is in the area of dementia, particularly around supporting people living with dementia and their supporters to maximise functioning, wellbeing, and quality of life. I am interested in how non-pharmacological intervention and rehabilitation can best support people living with dementia and their carers, and how to bridge the research - practice gap through implementation. 


Currently supervising

Vincent Poisson (DrPH candidate)


My Engagement

In the media:

O'Connor & Low (August 2016): 'Answering the same questions over and over: how to talk to people with dementia’ on The Conversation: http://theconversation.com/answering-the-same-questions-over-and-over-how-to-talk-to-people-with-dementia-61805

O'Connor (July 2016): How to best manage the behavioural changes in frontotemporal dementia on the NeuRA Blog: https://blog.neura.edu.au/2016/07/behavioural-changes-ftd/

 

Membership:

2022 – present, UNSW Australian Human Rights Institute

2020 – present, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute

2019 – present, Australian Association of Gerontology

2019 – present, Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC)

2019 – present, NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR) membership network

2017 – 2018, Occupational Therapy Australia

2015 –2018, International Society for Frontotemporal Dementias (ISFTD)

2015 – 2018, International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART)

2012 – present, Registered with Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

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