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Research highlights


The consumer experience of residential mental health care

Dr Stephen Parker

In 2014 Dr Stephen Parker received a New Investigator Grant of $6000 for his research project Evaluating residential mental health rehabilitation outcomes across three Community Care Units: Qualitative evaluation of the consumer journey encompassing expectation and realities of care. The grant played a critical role in getting the qualitative component of the mixed-methods parent study up and running. The funding opened up the opportunity to engage consumers in individual interviews rather than one-off focus groups. 'I am grateful for the assistance provided by the New Investigator Grant and encourage other Fellows and trainees who are starting out in research to consider applying in the future,' said Dr Parker.

The grant funding directly contributed to two publications exploring consumer expectations of care at a Community Care Unit. Additional data examining the consumer experience of care at these units are now available with the final analysis pending. This research has already provided valuable insights as to how care delivery at these and other services could be adapted to improve consumer engagement and outcomes. The new knowledge will also enrich the understanding of the quantitative dataset examining consumer outcomes.

Physical activity in people with psychotic disorders

Dr Shuichi Suetani

In 2016 Dr Shuichi Suetani received a New Investigator Grant for $6000 for his research project ‘Acceptability of physical activity measures in people with psychotic disorders’.

'With the RANZCP New Investigator Grant, I am currently conducting a clinical trial titled A Comparison Study of Three Physical Activity Measures Examining Acceptability and Validity in People with Psychotic Disorders.

'We have completed the data collection, and are hopeful that we can publish a paper about the study by the end of the year. The Grant has really helped me to have some exposure to clinical research. I feel that regardless of what ends up happening to my research career, the skills I am learning in completing my PhD will help me become a more effective psychiatrist for my patients,' says Dr Suetani.

Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease

Dr Philip Mosley

Stimulating electrodes implanted in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease treat disabling motor symptoms such as tremor and rigidity, improving quality of life for sufferers. However, some people develop severe and harmful psychiatric symptoms due to neurostimulation, including mood changes and behavioural addictions. It is essential to predict and prevent these complications in order to deliver this important treatment safely.

In 2014 Dr Phillip Mosley received a New Investigator Grant from the RANZCP, which allowed him to collect pilot data from a cohort of patients. He was subsequently able to leverage this data to secure an early career fellowship from the ‘Advance Queensland’ program.

Dr Mosley says, 'we have now been able to study a large group of people with Parkinson's disease and have found that developing harmful psychiatric symptoms is closely linked to the site and distribution of stimulation in the subthalamic nucleus, the most common surgical target for deep brain stimulation.

'We have also been able to follow the experience of caregivers, developing a program of psychotherapy to address their needs. Our future work focuses on applying novel mathematical and neuroimaging techniques to study behaviour pre- and postoperatively.'