Associate Professor Christine Neville

Dept Head Clinical Sch Ipswich Hosp

School of Nursing and Midwifery
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
christine.neville@uq.edu.au
+61 7 338 11182

Overview

Dr Neville is a mental health nurse with an established research profile in ageing, dementia, mental health and respite care using predominantly quantitative research methods. Her current research focus is on the benefits of aquatic exercise for people with dementia particularly its influence in the management of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. She developed the internationally renowned Watermemories Swimming Club. Additional research interests include family centred counselling for carers of people with dementia, pain in older people with dementia and respite care for older people with dementia.

Dr Neville has general and mental health nursing qualifications with extensive clinical experience in both these areas. Her PhD was undertaken at The University of Queensland on the behaviour of older people admitted for respite care. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and has been the recipient of the internationally acclaimed Stan Alchin Award for Outstanding Mental Health Nursing Practice. Christine is President of the Psychogeriatric Nurses Association. Since 1997 she has been involved in the tertiary education of nurses. Christine joined The University of Queensland in the School of Nursing and Midwifery in 2007 and is the Deputy Director of UQ Ipswich Clinical School. She developed UQ's first Master of Mental Health Nursing program and is the Co-ordinator.

Research Interests

  • Dementia
    Behavioural and psychological well-being of people with dementia and their carers. Pain management for people with dementia. The benefits of respite care for people with dementia and their carers. The benefits of exercise for people with dementia. Family centred care for people with dementia.
  • Mental Health
    The role of mental health nurses in the care of people with a mental illness. Older persons mental health care.
  • Tertiary Education for Nurses
    Undergraduate Postgraduate Mental Health Aged Care

Research Impacts

The Watermemories Swimming Club (WSC) for people with dementia was successfully piloted during 2011 with significant benefits of reduced psychological distress, less behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) and better staff reactions to BPSD. There has been intense media, national and international interest in the WSC. The WSC has brought about a fundamental change in peoples' attitudes as to what people with dementia can and cannot do whether they live at home or in a residential aged care facility. People with dementia should be able to do what other people usually do. If they enjoy swimming, there is no reason why they should not go swimming at the local municipal pool where other community members go swimming. However, to make the effort successful and worthwhile a number of arrangements and processes have to be put in place to support people with dementia and their carers, for example, what to do about incontinence, safe entry in the pool, how much assistance a person would need etc. All this information is detailed in a manual which includes the dementia-specific exercise program (e.g., simple, repetitive exercises that target key muscle groups to prevent falls and maintain function; fun activities for enjoyment and relaxation). Project outcomes include journal publications, DVD, manual and a training program for instructors and pool pals.

The project ‘Review, present and develop contemporary National Standards and clinical indicators for mental health nursing’ was significant as the results of this work were adopted by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses to produce the 'Standards of Practice for Australian Mental Health Nurses: 2010'. This publication was formally launched by the Tasmanian Minister for Health at the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses 36th Annual International Conference, Hobart, 2010. These standards are used by many local, state, national and international organisations and Universities to determine standards of mental health nursing care. Additionally, the new standards are used as a benchmarking tool, for example, the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses published the Scan of Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Programs in Australia 2011, to assist with the credentialing for practice program. Within this publication, the 'Standards of Practice for Australian Mental Health Nurses: 2010' were used to as a benchmark for the quality of postgraduate mental health nursing programs offered throughout Australia. The new standards will contemporise and inform mental health nursing care in Australia for at least another decade.

The respite care research program has had a number of influences on policy and practice as it included the first ever Australian study to report on the prevalence of behavioural and psychological symptoms exhibited by older people in the community and residential respite care settings. It informed the Report to the Minister for Ageing on Residential Care and people with Psychogeriatric Disorders (2008) from which the federal government provided $2 million for NHMRC research grants into the care and treatment for psychogeriatric disorders. Data and research results were used to assist in the evaluation of the impact of the federally funded EACHD program on people with dementia and their carers. It also informed Alzheimer Australia’s discussion paper ‘Respite for People Living with Dementia: 'It’s more than just a short break' (2009). This report made recommendations to government and industry to improve the quality and uptake of respite care for older people with dementia and their family carers. This research also formed the basis of the Respite Care in Dementia: Consumer Perspectives study which was the first national survey of carer's experiences with respite care which had significant policy recommendations relevant to the Australian Government's 'Living Longer. Living Better' reform package.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Psychiatry, The University of Queensland

Publications

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Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • The prevalence of dementia is one of the most important issues facing Australia this century with significant personal, social, economic and health reverberations across the nation. People with dementia who live in residential aged care facilities are often physically inactive and exhibit behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Physical inactivity is associated with increased risk of all causes of mortality, sarcopenia, decline in mood and activities of daily living. This project builds on successful pilot work which demonstrated that aquatic exercise had a significant positive impact on the person with dementia’s physical and psychological wellbeing, BPSD and carer reactions to BPSD.

  • PROJECT DESCRIPTION

    Most of the care for people with dementia is provided by family members at home. Caring is physically and psychologically stressful, often causing debilitating feelings of anxiety, loneliness, guilt and failure. As dementia progresses, family carers are increasingly vulnerable to stress and depression, which may lead them to reluctantly place the person with dementia in a residential aged care facility (RACF).

    In a 20-year randomized controlled trial in the USA, a program called the New York University Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI) provided counselling to spouse carers and their family members and demonstrated that such support reduced carer depression and reactions to the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and improved carer physical health, compared to usual care.

    This in turn led to a significant delay (1.5 years, on average) in admission of their family member into a RACF. The major mediator of these outcomes is improved support from family and friends.

    PROJECT AIMS

    Phase 1 (2012: 12 months): To develop an innovative Internet-based Multimedia Education program for NYUCI (Aus) in conjunction with the original investigator and clinical team

    Phase 2 (2013: 12 months): Community health workers who are employed by Blue Care will be invited to participate. Participants will undergo training in the NYUCI (Aus) over 12 weeks (March –June 2013). They will devote 3 hours each week for reading and online learning. Additionally, they will link up (via online discussion boards, email, Skype) with a peer mentor from the USA with experience in the NYUCI.

    Phase 3 (2014: 18 months): 120 carers will be offered the opportunity of participating in the NYUCI (Aus) program We will evaluate the effectiveness of the NYUCI (Aus) in improving the mental and physical health of carers and in postponement in the use of residential aged care for the person with dementia.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Neville, Christine C. and Byrne, Gerard J. A. (2009). Depression and suicide in older people. In Rhonda Nay and Sally Garratt (Ed.), Older people: issues and innovations in care 3rd ed. (pp. 229-243) Chatswood, NSW, Australia: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Edited Outputs

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Joint Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The prevalence of dementia is one of the most important issues facing Australia this century with significant personal, social, economic and health reverberations across the nation. People with dementia who live in residential aged care facilities are often physically inactive and exhibit behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). Physical inactivity is associated with increased risk of all causes of mortality, sarcopenia, decline in mood and activities of daily living. This project builds on successful pilot work which demonstrated that aquatic exercise had a significant positive impact on the person with dementia’s physical and psychological wellbeing, BPSD and carer reactions to BPSD.

  • PROJECT DESCRIPTION

    Most of the care for people with dementia is provided by family members at home. Caring is physically and psychologically stressful, often causing debilitating feelings of anxiety, loneliness, guilt and failure. As dementia progresses, family carers are increasingly vulnerable to stress and depression, which may lead them to reluctantly place the person with dementia in a residential aged care facility (RACF).

    In a 20-year randomized controlled trial in the USA, a program called the New York University Caregiver Intervention (NYUCI) provided counselling to spouse carers and their family members and demonstrated that such support reduced carer depression and reactions to the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and improved carer physical health, compared to usual care.

    This in turn led to a significant delay (1.5 years, on average) in admission of their family member into a RACF. The major mediator of these outcomes is improved support from family and friends.

    PROJECT AIMS

    Phase 1 (2012: 12 months): To develop an innovative Internet-based Multimedia Education program for NYUCI (Aus) in conjunction with the original investigator and clinical team

    Phase 2 (2013: 12 months): Community health workers who are employed by Blue Care will be invited to participate. Participants will undergo training in the NYUCI (Aus) over 12 weeks (March –June 2013). They will devote 3 hours each week for reading and online learning. Additionally, they will link up (via online discussion boards, email, Skype) with a peer mentor from the USA with experience in the NYUCI.

    Phase 3 (2014: 18 months): 120 carers will be offered the opportunity of participating in the NYUCI (Aus) program We will evaluate the effectiveness of the NYUCI (Aus) in improving the mental and physical health of carers and in postponement in the use of residential aged care for the person with dementia.