Participants are needed for a study to better understand the impact that natural disasters and COVID-19 restrictions have had on the health and self-care of older people.
A University of Wollongong (UOW) research team is seeking people over the age of 65, and General Practice Nurses (GPN) to participate in The Self-Care of Older Australians project.
The study focuses on bushfire-affected areas of south-eastern New South Wales, including the Shoalhaven, South Coast and Southern Highlands.
Project leaders Professor Liz Halcomb, Professor of Primary Care Nursing, and Ms Cristina Thompson, a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI), say chronic health conditions, loneliness and social isolation are predictors of functional decline and premature death in older people.
Ms Thompson said study findings will enable interventions to be developed that support older people to remain independent and live longer in their local community.
"Many people in our region experienced catastrophic bushfires and in some cases floods in early 2019, followed closely by the coronavirus pandemic," she said.
"We want to learn more about how this unique combination of events may have disrupted the ability of older people to manage their self-care and health, particularly those who are living with chronic health issues."
The team is looking for first-hand reports.
"We already know that a key challenge for older people arising from COVID-19 has been the loneliness and social isolation that has occurred, with the necessary public health measures restricting movement and social gatherings," Professor Halcomb said.
She added the impact of COVID-19 upon primary healthcare nurses working outside of hospitals has also been challenging, as identified by recent research emerging from the School of Nursing at UOW.
To participate in the project contact the research team at email@example.com or call 4221 4411.
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