Chronic disease and ageing

Chronic disease and ageing

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, renal failure, dementia, and other conditions of ageing continue to be leading causes of mortality and health burden to Australians. Further, in 2009, 12 percent of our population were informal carers to someone with a disability or a person who was ageing. The role of nurses in lifestyle and chronic disease management with an ageing population, and the support of families and carers, is more important than ever. Sydney Nursing School researchers are excited to be part of the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre with our own Nursing Chair to be appointed as part of a team who share a determination to ease the burden of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Australia.

Research spotlight: What you need to know about sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a condition where people repeatedly stop breathing while asleep. People with sleep apnoea often complain of daytime sleepiness, difficulties concentrating, and they tend to have high blood pressure. The people around them usually complain about their nightly snoring, gasping, and choking noises.

About 5% of people have treatable moderate or severe sleep apnoea, which means they stop breathing 15 times or more times per hour while asleep. A larger number of people - as many as 20% of middle-aged folk - have mild sleep apnoea, which means they stop breathing around five to 15 times an hour. Although this may sound pretty scary, it's still not clear that this mild version causes ill health.

Left untreated, sleep apnoea will not only shorten your life by hastening a string of illnesses, it may also increase your risk of suffering from depression. And the general sleepiness of people with the condition is thought to as much as triple their risk for car accidents and injury.

The prevalence of sleep apnoea increases in ageing societies that are getting heavier, along with other age and obesity-related diseases. But studies from around the world show your risk of developing these diseases is strongly influenced by whether or not you have sleep apnoea in the first place. In particular, the condition has been linked to stroke and cancer.

The good news is - if you have mild sleep apnoea, you might be able to manage your risk quite effectively with dietary changes, which will improve your overall heath and stop you from developing a more severe version of the condition.

If you've got severe sleep apnoea, it's really serious but still treatable, so it's time to see a sleep doctor and get something done about it. More good news: if you do have severe sleep apnoea and you get it treated, your risk is much, much lower.

What all this adds up to is that sleep apnoea needs to be taken seriously; it's not just a nuisance snoring condition. Not only will treatment help make you feel better, it will also reduce your risk for all kinds of attendant bad things from happening.

Dr Nathaniel Marshall's article was first published in The Conversation. Read the full article here.

Optimising Leadership Capacity in Aged Care

This is a 20-minute documentary of heart-warming stories of aged care staff and managers who took part in the first cluster randomised controlled trial of an aged care specific leadership and management program – CLINICAL Leadership in Aged Care (CLiAC). The CLiAC aims to achieve improved work environment and high-quality care by developing the capacity of middle managers to advance effective teams and person-centred and evidence-based approaches to care.

This video will walk you through the journey of the program participants, providing candid views of the program facilitator, aged care staff, registered nurses and managers about the importance of both individual and organisational leadership in bringing optimum outcomes of a leadership program such as the CLiAC, as well as their experiences in being part of the CLiAC. Three members of the project team and aged care key stakeholders also tell us about their perspectives on leadership in aged care, the CLiAC and the research.

For further information please contact the project lead, Associate Professor Yun-Hee Jeon, Sydney Nursing School

Aged Care Reform: Advancing Quality in Dementia Care
Aged Care Symposium presentations

This symposium in June 2013 gave us the opportunity to begin a dialogue about these government directions, so that we can start to examine policies, practices and research that will enable ground-breaking reform in aged care.

We invite you to revisit this stimulating debate through the keynote addresses and presentations from this significant event.