The Research  Program

There are two research projects underway as a result of the
 NAVASPF-ARCCIM collaboration  

Project 1

Recommendations for the use of complementary and alternative medicine for the prevention of stroke: EVIDENCE synthesis and communication to key stakeholders

There are a number of known conditions and lifestyle factors that increases a person’s chance of experiencing stroke. Some of these ‘risk factors’ such as age and gender cannot be controlled. However, many stroke risk factors are lifestyle related, such as high blood pressure, lack of regular exercise, and obesity. Such risk factors can be changed, thus significantly reducing a person’s risk of stroke.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a field of health care that offers many potential options that might be beneficial to address lifestyle related risk factors of stroke. There is much scientific literature reporting on CAM intervention studies for stroke risk factors, however the majority of these studies are of poor methodological quality and/or are of varying study designs. Thus, there is no definitive guidance as to which CAM options might be effective in reducing risk factors of stroke.

Therefore this project aimed to summarize the evidence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the prevention of stroke, and stroke risk factors.

As of December 2017, two systematic reviews have been published summarizing the evidence of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and Tai Chi for stroke and stroke risk factor prevention.

Project 2

Examining insider perspectives and experiences regarding approaches to stroke prevention in aged care facilities: a focus upon complementary and alternative medicine approaches

The proportion of Australians living in residential aged care facilities (RACF) has been increasing, with 7.8% of Australians aged 65 and over in residential aged care in 2013-2014. RACF residents are older and frailer when they enter residential aged care compared to non-residents, and they have significantly increased risk for stroke. About 2 in 5 residents require high-level complex health care, thus RACF's health management is vital for its residents’ health and well-being. It is the RACF's responsibility to provide an environment that effectively promotes primary and secondary stroke preventive measures.

Considering that vital role of RACFs in primary prevention of stroke, surprisingly little is known not only about the actual use of complementary medicine use in residential aged care, but also about how stroke prevention is actually approached in these facilities with special regards to complementary medicine. Furthermore, we still know little about what knowledge is employed regarding the efficacy of relevant CAM approaches and how these interventions are potentially translated and integrated within existing aged care models.

In response, this project constitutes a world-first exploration of approaches to stroke prevention within RAFCs drawing upon the perspective and experiences of the stakeholders involved. The insights from this project will be of benefit to all providing and receiving care within RAFCs.