Chronic disease and ageing

patient in hospital bed

In Australia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, renal failure, dementia, and other conditions of ageing are leading causes of mortality and comprise a substantial health burden. With an ageing population, the role of nurses in lifestyle and chronic disease management is more important than ever.

Sydney Nursing School researchers collaborate with the University’s Charles Perkins Centre as part of a team that shares a determination to ease the burden of chronic diseases and ageing in Australia.

Our research

Research into assisting people living with dementia to be independent

One in four people with dementia conceals their diagnosis and two in five withdraw from social and daily activities. Stigma and low dementia literacy cause social exclusion and isolation, delayed diagnosis and avoidance of seeking help.

Professor Jun-Hee Jeon’s I-HARP (Interdisciplinary Home-bAsed Reablement) program is designed to improve functional capacity of community dwelling, older people living with dementia. This is done through interdisciplinary teams working closely with people with dementia and by setting individuals goals together to develop and support ways to enable them to live more independently in their own home.

Professor Jeon has been successful with a $1,864,344.80 NHMRC Implementation of Dementia Research into Clinical Practice and Care Grant for the I-HARP program. This is one of only 13 large grants awarded under this category across Australia, and the only successful application under this category at the University of Sydney. Read more about the $5.4 boost for Sydney dementia research.

Insomnia phenotyping – what are the differences between individuals with insomnia

A large research project led by Dr Christopher Gordon is exploring ways of improving the identification of sub-types of insomnia in patients and determining therapy effectiveness. This research is being conducted by researchers from Sydney Nursing School, Sydney Medical School, Flinders University and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research for the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, an industry and federal government-funded initiative aimed at improving sleep health, workplace safety and productivity.

Sydney Health Hacks: What are the signs you have insomnia

Dr Gordon featured in a video as part of the Sydney Health Hacks series, where he spoke about the signs, symptoms and causes of insomnia.

Stroke prevention research

A group of researchers from Sydney Nursing School and Sydney Medical School were awarded $200,000 into stroke research prevention. The research focuses on diagnosing an irregular heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation), which causes blood clots to form in the heart and travel to the brain to cause a stroke.

Featured expert - Associate Professor Nathaniel Marshall

A/Prof Nathanial Marshall

Associate Professor Nathaniel Marshall's research into sleep and sleep disorders at the Sydney Nursing School aims to measure the impact of these disorders and the effectiveness of treatments, and investigate health system activity related to sleep.

Dr Marshall wrote about his research into sleep apnoea for the Conversation. 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.

"My undergraduate degrees in psychology and accounting and a postgraduate diploma in health sciences are from the University of Otago and my PhD in public health focused on clinical trials and related methodology (Massey University in New Zealand). I have over 15 years practical experience in designing, running, analysing, reporting and reviewing both pharmacological and non-pharmacological studies in sleep medicine."

Featured expert - Professor Robyn Gallagher

Prof Robyn Gallagher

Professor Robyn Gallagher research at the Sydney Nursing School aims to help patients recover and lead healthier lives after admission to hospital for heart problems such as heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure. Her work helps patients to reduce their risk of having further heart events, through cardiac rehabilitation, exercise and physical activity, medications, and weight management.

“I have worked in many different clinical settings, including orthopedics, cardiology, coronary care, intensive care and cardiac rehabilitation. The highlight for me is my recent work with cardiac patients as they go about adjusting to have a cardiac diagnosis and changing their lifestyle to improve their quality of life and self-manage.

“The most important aspect of my teaching is promoting critical thinking about nursing through research, data collection and analyses. I love seeing my students challenge themselves and develop into outstanding nurse researchers. My students are challenged by turning their ideas and questions about nurses into research projects that will contribute to good quality patient care.

“Sydney Nursing School has high quality courses and expert staff. I love working in the school because it has wonderful connections to all the health disciplines,” said Professor Robyn Gallagher.