News

OT funding success

The Department of Occupational Therapy has had some recent grant successes:

  • Ponsford, J., Ross, P., Olver, J., Fossey, E.., Barclay, L., Hilton, G., Downing, M., McKenzie, D., Nunn, A. & Mortimer, D. Early vocational intervention for people who have experienced trauma. Transport Accident Commission, $1,757,236.
  • Callaway, L., Tregloan, K., Bonyhady, B., Bowen, D., Gabbe, B., Braaf, S., Wiesel, I., Martel, A., Gohil, A., Lalor, A., Moore, L. National and international perspectives to inform the TAC client housing strategy. Transport Accident Commission, $198,044.
  • Callaway, L. et al. Building and Testing Mainstream Employment Pathways for People with Neurological Disability. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (VIC), $90,000.
  • Barclay, L., Lalor, A., Migliorini, C. & Robins, L. Research to identify best-practice service delivery and care models for spinal community integration programs (national and international). Transport Accident Commission, $68,907.

My Home Space launched

This month, the Department of Occupational Therapy’s Libby Callaway and Kate Tregloan (Architecture Dept, Monash Art Design and Architecture) officially launched ‘My Home Space’.
My Home Space is an online information resource for people interested in housing, technology, support and community design. It includes an interactive, online 3D virtual housing tool developed to translate National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) housing policy and other existing design guidelines into virtual housing spaces. Information in the virtual housing tours can be filtered by NDIS design categories (improved liveability, fully accessible, robust design, high physical support needs), housing type (apartment, villa, house, group home), and activity type (cooking, dressing, bathing, socialising).
My Home Space was delivered with a range of project partners as part of a two-year project funded within the second implementation plan of Australia’s National Disability Strategy. Findings from a national government housing roundtable run as part of the project were also published in the Australian Journal of Social Issues this month.
My Home Space is suitable for people with disability and their families, health professionals, designers, funders and other stakeholders interested in housing, technology and support design. Watch a video of a NDIS participant, using the My Home Space tool here.


Australian Awards Scholar – Arifa Jahan Ema

The Occupational Therapy department’s Master of Philosophy student Arifa Jahan Ema, from Bangladesh, is a recently mobilised Australian Awards scholar.

Arifa’s research focuses on rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury; specifically, how students reintegrate academically after such injuries. She hopes to apply her research when she returns to Bangladesh by working with students with a spinal cord injury who are returning to education.

Before applying for an Australia Awards Scholarship, Arifa worked as a Clinical Occupational Therapist for the Centre for Rehabilitation of the Paralysed in Dhaka for three and a half years. ‘I have always wanted to undertake a higher research degree,’ Arifa said. ‘I assisted a former colleague on a research project conducted as part of his PhD studies, and it was this experience that encouraged me to apply for the Scholarship.’

Despite only being halfway through the first year of her master’s degree, Arifa recently submitted an abstract for a paper to be presented at the 57th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society and the 25th Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Spinal Cord Society. These meetings will be held jointly in Sydney in September and Arifa is already looking forward to attending and presenting her paper, as well as networking with international experts, and learning about innovations and new practices in her field.

Arifa will spend the next 12 months preparing her paper, presenting it in September, planning for additional publications, returning to Bangladesh to conduct her research, and working through her results and findings. She is really enjoying her studies and has had some new ideas since starting her Scholarship. ‘I am looking into the possibility of becoming an academic in a few years, and working with my network to develop a Master of Occupational Therapy. There is currently no such program in Bangladesh,’ Arifa said.

Arifa has also been busy taking part in some initiatives organised by Monash University outside of her studies. She contributed to the Monash Human Book, a book designed for occupational therapy students, in which she talked about her background and experience of working in the sector in Bangladesh. She also participated in a career conference, presenting on the reasons behind her decision to become an occupational therapist and her life journey to get to where she is today.


OT students involved in Monash Human library

A Monash Human library event was recently held at Peninsula campus, in which 2nd year Occupational Therapy students participated to connect with other people and learn of their experiences via storytelling

The Monash Human Library is inspired by the original Human Library project, which started in 2000 in Copenhagen, and is designed to build a positive framework for conversations that can challenge stereotypes and prejudices.

The Human Library experience allows for people to connect with other people and learn in the most genuine way possible -- communicating experiences via storytelling. Our 'books' (guests from our community) openly speak about their experiences to a smaller group of individuals (our 'readers'), and allows for the readers to gain insight to their stories. These are the incidences or encounters that we might not otherwise usually have the opportunity to engage with first hand. Books expect and appreciate difficult questions to explore and challenge stereotypes and prejudices. The aim of the project is to encourage dialogue to build positive relationships between people.


Participatory Community Project - OT students in the news

Occupational Therapy students Vincci Lee, Fiona Delahunty and Marcie Weiss, made headlines in the Frankston Leader Newspaper for the work they are doing with Dress for Success in Frankston as a part of their Participatory Community Practice unit within their Occupational Therapy course.

The students have also had an abstract accepted about the project for an oral presentation for an upcoming conference.


OT staff visit Hong Kong

In late October, Professor Ellie Fossey and Dr. Eli Chu from the Department of Occupational Therapy, visited the Education University of Hong Kong.

The pair visited the Department of Special Education and Counselling’s Integrated Wellbeing Centre (I-Well Centre), which offers occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and counselling services for children with special educational needs and their  families.

Professor Ellie Fossey presented her research on the provision of supports for students  with disabilities in tertiary education, and suggested implementing supports to assist these students.

Dr Eli Chu discussed simulation based learning in occupational therapy education, sharing  the effectiveness and values of simulation in health education.


Participatory Community Project features on TV

A Participatory Community  Placement Project from students within the Masters of occupational therapy Practice  course was recently featured on the ABC’s

‘Gardening Australia’  program.

Olivia Sun and Isabelle  Aubrey did a fantastic job representing our Occupational Therapy program, implementing  a community garden with one of Yooralla’s disability residential  accommodations.

The six-month-long project  involved developing a sustainable kitchen garden with the residents to help  them engage in meaningful tasks and spark positive social connections. This was  done by creating an accessible garden space featuring modified long-handled  gardening tools, educational resources, and a photo diary for residents to  track their journey in the garden as a community.

Since its completion, the  garden has successfully empowered residents to take on new roles.

To watch the segment, click here. The  segment starts 7 minutes in.


OT Research project gains recognition

Libby Callaway  (Occupational Therapy) and Dr Kate Tregloan (MADA) recently hosted a National  Housing Roundtable at Clayton Campus. The roundtable bought together each of  the State Government disability accommodation and housing representatives,  injury insurers, and key representatives from the National Disability Insurance  Agency's national office Housing and Market Commissioning Teams.

The roundtable coincided  with the release of the neww National Disability Insurance

Scheme Specialist  Disability Accommodation Rules, that Libby, Kate and Jono Bredin co-authored an  article for in ‘The Conversation’. The article examined  these new rules and Jono's experience of smart technology-enabled housing, coupled  with an innovative clinical training program offered by our OT students. You  can read the full article here.

This research project is  one of nine projects funded by the Department of

Social Services as part of  the second stage implementation plan of Australia's National  Disability Strategy.


Participatory Community Project features in the Leader Newspaper

Third and fourth year Occupational  Therapy students were recently featured in the Leader Newspaper for  collaborating with the local community as part of their Participatory Community  Practice unit. The students are tasked with addressing a community or  population based problem for local agencies. All 48 student projects were  recently showcased at Peninsula campus. Student Clare Dennehy and Song

Kyoung Oh developed a brochure and website  to assist older adults with volunteering for Impact Volunteering. The students  found that there were lots of benefits that volunteering can have on older  adults. It is great to see our students building their professional identity and benefiting the community.


OT staff Book success

Congratulations to the Department of Occupational Therapy’s Associate Professor Ted Brown and Associate Professor Helen Bourke-Taylor who have made a valuable contribution to Australian OT education in bringing together a foundational textbook for occupational therapy undergraduates providing a guide to practice issues in the Australian context.

Occupational Therapy in Australia: Practice and Process Issues (2017) is an edited book consisting of 28 chapters written by over 65 contributing authors and is published by Allen and Unwin. It is the first book of its kind written by Australian occupational therapy authors for Australian occupational therapy undergraduate and graduate-entry Masters students.

The book has been adopted across the country by occupational therapy education programs as a key text. Two of the four book editors and ten of the contributing authors are from the Monash Department of Occupational Therapy. A wonderful achievement for everyone involved!


Seed grant success

Associate Professor Lisa  O'Brien from the Department of Occupational Therapy and fellow Monash colleague  Dr Chao Chen from Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, have received a Monash  Institute of Medical Engineering seed grant of $50,000 to improve the  functionality of 3-D printed hand orthoses.

Current designs are activated by  flexion and extension at the wrist, and Dr Chen's students have been working on  improving their ability to perform common daily living tasks, including pouring  water, turning a page and handling money. With this grant, the pair  hope to improve dexterity of the hand by using more of the available wrist  movements, such as sideways deviation, pronation, and supination. They are also  working on an adaptive mechanism for optimum grasping force and speed.

The duo have two consumer  participants (one child and one adult) enrolled in the study to date. Both have been 3-D  scanned, and the engineers are currently custom designing their prostheses. They have also recruited a  prosthetist (Jim Lavranos, Alfred Health) to their team. This project has also  attracted media attention from The Herald Sun and Nine News, who plan to film a  story when the prototypes are ready for testing. Read the full article from  the Herald Sun
here.


OT recently featured in The Age

Associate Professor Helen  Bourke-Taylor from the Occupational Therapy Department was also recently  featured in The Age for her work with colleague General Practitioner Fiona

Jane and their program to  assist mothers caring for children with a disability. The program which the duo  created in 2012, has also run in Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong, Albury and Chicago  in the USA. The job for mothers who care  for children with a disability, is unrelenting. In Australia, one in 12 children have a  disability and in 95 per cent of cases, the mother is the primary carer.

Helen explained "I'd  like to see better understanding of family needs within a disability system  that's becoming increasingly individualised and focused on the person who is  the recipient of services. Because they don't live and exist on their own, they  live within a family unit and disability affects the whole family."
Read the full story here


Collaborative Interprofessional Health Care in Vietnam

A group of students from within our Faculty are setting off on a  new initiative exploring interdisciplinary health care in a completely  different context. Twelve students will travel to Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam  during November and December 2016 to meet local health professionals and  Australian Aid workers.

This 4 week international student mobility program is a pilot  project of undergraduate interprofessional practice and volunteering led by  Alison Francis-Cracknell from the Physiotherapy department, building upon  Alison’s own healthcare volunteering experience in Vietnam in 2012/2013. It is  a joint project of the Departments of Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy,  Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice and the School of Nursing and  Midwifery, supported by Monash Abroad, the School of Primary Health Care and  external engagement with Scope Global project management.

Students will have the opportunity to explore health and health  education in Vietnam, meeting with staff and students from the University of  Medicine and Pharmacy in Ho Chi Minh City, visiting 4 hospitals and a rural  community health service, undertake local language classes and meet with  Australian health volunteers currently working in Vietnam. They will also work  on group projects aimed at developing their international health care  perspective, cultural capabilities and insight into the delivery of culturally  appropriate healthcare services.


Graduate Education Supervisor Development Grant success

Libby Callaway from the Department of Occupational Therapy has  received funding success under the Monash Graduate Education Supervisors Grant.  Her project is titled “Building social impact and industry partnerships within  Australia’s National Disability and Injury Insurance Schemes: Scoping graduate  research needs in housing, assistive technology and support design for people  with disability.” The grant will enable further work with key disability  industry partners to identify and map current research activity relating to  housing, technology and support design for people with disability, and identify  gaps that may be addressed via graduate education programs, as well as  supervisor capacity building in this area.<


OT students contribute to local primary schools

The Department of Occupational Therapy in collaboration with SCOPE  therapy services implemented an innovative supervision model to provide  fieldwork placements for occupational therapy students at Beaconsfield Primary  School and Pakenham Springs Primary School in 2016. SCOPE “is a not-for-profit  organisation that exists to support people with physical, intellectual and  multiple disabilities achieve their goals in life.” Three groups of four  students each from the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours) and Master of  Occupational Therapy Practice programs completed fieldwork placements in these  primary schools during April to September 2016. The students provided  supervised occupational therapy support to students of the two primary schools  at no additional cost to the schools or families, under the supervision of  Occupational Therapists from SCOPE School Team Southern Division. In addition  to occupational therapy students obtaining Invaluable learning experiences,  their supervised work in supporting primary school students at the two schools  as part of their fieldwork placements have also contributed to the students,  teachers, and the schools in a very positive way. Lisa Kid, a Grade 2 Teacher, from Beaconsfield Primary  School gave some feedback about the partnership.

Beaconsfield Primary School has been extremely fortunate to have  Occupational Therapy Students from Monash University working on placement with  our primary students. Teachers have reported that they have learnt exciting new  strategies to support student learning and the students have shown an increase  in their confidence and fine motor skills. The program has been very  successful.

The Department of Occupational Therapy values its collaborative  partnership with SCOPE, through which this supervision model was trialled for  the first time this year. As can be seen, it was a win-win-win-win for Monash  occupational therapy students, SCOPE, the two schools involved and the children  in the schools.


OT Project printing a helping hand

Dr Chao Chen and Associate Professor Lisa O'Brien have received a Monash  Institute of Medical Engineering seed grant of $50,000 to improve the  functionality of 3-D printed hand orthoses. Current designs are activated by  flexion and extension at the wrist, and Dr Chen's students have been working on  improving their ability to perform common daily living tasks, including pouring  water, turning a page and handling money. With this grant, the team hope to  improve dexterity of the hand by using more of the available wrist movements,  such as sideways deviation, pronation, and supination. We are also working on  an adaptive mechanism for optimum grasping force and speed.

We have two consumer participants (one child and one adult) enrolled in  our study to date. Both have been 3-D scanned, and the engineers are currently  custom designing their prostheses. We have also recruited a prosthetist (Jim  Lavranos, Alfred Health) to our team.

This project has  attracted media attention from The Herald Sun and Nine News, who plan to film a  story when the prototypes are ready for testing. To read the full article,  please see http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melbourne-researchers-design-new-3dprinted-hand/news-story/c431556524902039e130f07c4c86a6df


Celebrating success

Professor Ellie Fossey, Head of Occupational Therapy, was recently successful in a NHMRC Partnership Project Application titled “Building the Evidence Base for Prevention and Recovery Care Services”. The project involves seven inter-related studies designed to evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of Victoria's Prevention and Recovery Care Services (PARCS), which are residential services for people with severe mental disorders. The project represents a partnership between universities, PARCS providers, clinical services and the Victorian Government, and will actively engage service users and their carers and other experts.

The project is worth $365,902.90 and is led by The Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, and Monash University.


MOTPrac graduating class of 2016

The first cohort of students from the Master of Occupational Therapy Practice (MOTPrac) graduated in July. All students were very happy to have made it through a rigorous two years of the program which runs over 72 weeks. Some graduating students have already been offered and accepted very interesting employment in areas that are consistent with their new skills.


Participatory Community Project helps the vision impaired to navigate their fridge

An innovative new braille fridge ‘map' for the blind has been   unveiled at Insight Education Centre in Berwick to help blind and vision   impaired children become more confident in the kitchen.

Developed by two Master of Occupational Therapy Practice students,   the fridge map can be affixed to a fridge door, and aims to help blind   and vision impaired children become more confident with food preparation   and cooking. The map was developed in response to the current low   educational outcomes and poor employment prospects for blind people, and   is aimed to encourage independence so blind people have the ability to   know exactly where food is in the fridge.

"You would be amazed at the changes in the kids when they learn to do   something for themselves," Judy Stampton, who was involved in the   project said.

Kate Garam, also involved in the project, said she hoped the map   would encourage children to cook or help others cook and hoped the idea   could be adapted for blind and vision impaired people's homes to help   them navigate their tool sheds, closets and other areas of the house.   She said the idea took six months to develop and agreed it was   surprising that such a thing was not already available.

"The kids say they really love it, they say it's really nice to be   able to read it, and they love the fact that for the first part of the   lesson they can read the recipe, work out what ingredients it needs and   find them in the fridge," she said.
Insight Principal Timothy Hemphil   said the food-finder map would help enhance a range of like skills for   the students, as well as build core education abilities.

"Presently, 70 per cent of blind adults are unemployed. The former   ‘integration' schools model has not provided the framework for life   skills or future employment. We see Insight as providing a pathway to   both of these, as well as meaningful independence and full participation   in life."

What a fantastic innovation!


Research paper award for OT student

An Occupational Therapy student enrolled in the postgraduate unit OCC5111 - Advanced Hand Therapy Theory, Principles and Practice, was recently awarded the 2015 Best Research paper for an article originally submitted as a university assignment.

Frances Thomsen (nee Black) won a year's membership of the Australian Hand Therapy Association (AHTA) for her paper titled "Post-operative mobilization following volar plate fixation of distal radius fractures" which was published in the association's newsletter. She was encouraged to submit her assignment by Melissa Hirth, one of Monash's tutors in this course. Several graduates of this unit have now published their work in this newsletter, which is a great demonstration of the calibre of academic work completed by students.


Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy 10 year celebration

Earlier this year we celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the establishment of the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy departments at the Peninsula Campus. Guests included the Honorable Bruce Billson MP, along with the founding heads of departments Professor Jenny Keating and A/Professor Lou Farnworth, Emeritus Professor Phillip Steele, the Dean of Medicine Professor Christina Mitchell, PVC Professor Leon Piterman and many other past and present members of staff and industry partners.

Well done to everyone involved in the establishment and ongoing success of these esteemed programs.


Celebrating Success - Research

Congratulations to Linda Barclay and Mong-Lin Yu who are recipients of the SPHC Research and Research Degrees Committee 2016 Seeding Grants.

Linda Barclay's Project title is "Social and community participation following spinal cord injury: toward development of an intervention to improve health, well-being and life satisfaction".

Mong-Lin Yu's Project title is "Less writing, more talking: Using Zoom videoconferencing to facilitate reflective learning during final year OT students' transition to practice".