Research projects

Mixed methods investigation of anxiety and depression, contributing factors and health services provided to manage it amongst older adults discharged from hospital

Principal researcher

Associate Professor Terry Haines1
Professor Daniel O’Connor2
Professor Grant Russell2
Associate Professor Fiona McDermott1


1 Monash University and Southern Health
2 Monash University



Award type

National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year


Project brief

This project aims to:

  • characterise and plot the time-course of symptoms of anxiety and depression amongst older adults who have undergone an extended period of hospitalisation
  • examine links between anxiety and depression with ability to perform daily activities, loss of physical health and falls
  • develop a predictive index to identify, at the point of hospital discharge, older adults who are likely to experience clinically significant symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • enhance understanding of how and why older adults who experience symptoms of anxiety or depression during this period access health care services to manage their symptoms, and the barriers and enablers to this
  • understand current practice and barriers to improved practice amongst health service providers commonly in contact with older adults discharged from hospital in terms of identifying and managing symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Anticipated practical outcomes, community benefits

From a health service provision perspective, the team anticipate finding that the issue of depression amongst older adults who have recently had an extended period of hospitalisation is under-recognised and poorly managed at present. The existing framework of the SEHCP will be used to plan for modifications to current service provision at a local level, and communication with providers and policy makers who have a wider scope than that of the SEHCP will facilitate broader dissemination and service provision modifications.

A knowledge translation and exchange process will be established from the Project outset and will be a standing item of investigative team and reference committee meetings. Initial efforts will seek to identify audiences that are appropriate for the research findings, and optimal methods for reporting the research results to that audience. Reference group committee members will identify key recipient groups for information being generated through this research to enable knowledge translation both at a local level and more broadly.

A variety of communication approaches will be employed, including publication of results in peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations, public lectures, preparation and distribution of a formal Project report in 1:3:25 format (1 – Policy/practice context and key findings designed to give policy advisers and practitioners a brief overview of the research findings. 3 – Policy/practice context, key findings, policy/practice options and method. 25 – Full report) where distribution targets are identified by reference group (likely to include Ministers for Health and relevant public servants), general press release with subsequent media opportunities and integration with existing communication streams used by intended end-users of this information

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