Centre for Gerontology & Rehabilitation, University College Cork, Ireland
Established in September 2010 and led by Prof David William Molloy, the Centre for Gerontology and Rehabilitation (CGR) is part of the School of Medicine at University College Cork (UCC) and is based on the campus of St Finbarr's Hospital in Cork City and funded by Atlantic Philanthropies. The research strategy of the College of Medicine and Health is directed towards the maintenance of physical, mental, and social well-being in society. Research programmes are focused on the maintenance and restoration of health, through the prevention and treatment of illness. This research spans the causal factors of many illnesses through to their diagnosis, prophylaxis, treatment and cure. Thirteen hospitals in the South of Ireland are affiliated to the School of Medicine. The CGR is a main component of Ireland’s 3 star reference site, Collaboration on Ageing (COLLAGE) in EIP-AHA contributing two leading initiatives: “Let Me Decide” advance care planning (ACP) and palliative care programme andthe Community Assessment of Risk and Treatment Strategies programme (CARTS) which screens, triages, assesses and treats, individuals at risk of three specific adverse outcomes, institutionalisation, hospitalisation or death. Specifically the CGR has a core remit to establish interdisciplinary teaching and learning in Gerontology, Rehabilitation and End of Life Care in UCC, and to raise the standard of care for the elderly in the south of Ireland in general. Clinical Gerontology and Rehabilitation is a now a firmly established discipline in the undergraduate medical curriculum at UCC, and a postgraduate programme in Older Person Rehabilitation commenced in September 2011. It's ongoing research is focused on advance care planning (ACP), advance care directives (ACDs) and palliative care, development and implementation of frailty assessment and treatment strategies in the community and research in neurodegenerative diseases including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
2.1 Postgraduate Education:
A new postgraduate programme in Older Person Rehabilitation was released in February 2010 - April 2011; the first student intake commenced in September 2011.
This programme offers healthcare workers from all disciplines postgraduate continuous professional development modules, or a formal degree ranging from PGCertificate through PGDiploma to an MSc Degree, in Gerontology and Older Person Rehabilitation.
Modules include research methodology, general rehabilitation, stroke rehabilitation, cognition and capacity, falls and gait disorders, Principals and Practice, amputee and prosthetic limb rehabilitation, and Neuromuscular Disorders. The programme has strong links to other programmes provided by the Schools of Nursing and Clinical Therapies to enable a healthcare worker to build a tailored course for their particular educational requirements.
RCPI liaison for UCC: Co-Ordinates the linking of RCPI training sessions locally to UCC.
Prof. Molloy and Dr. Timmons both attend in South Infirmary / Victoria University Hospitals (SIVUH) in the wards and care for inpatients. They provide on call two nights each week at SIVUH and Mercy University Hospitals (MUH) and are part of the citywide call schedule on weekends.
They have started Memory Clinics (Molloy) and Movement Disorders Clinic (Timmons) in Saint Finbarr’s Hospital. They also provide outpatient clinics in SIVUH. They have refined a Standardized Computerized Database for Memory Clinics and Movement Disorders Clinics that we are trialling in September and want to make available to all Geriatricians in Ireland to develop a national database for Specialty Clinics. Planned to have this up and running by the end of the year.
Within UCC, they have established research collaborations within the School of Medicine and within the College of Medicine and Health (School of Nursing and Clinical Therapies particularly). As members of the UCC Neuroscience Research Group and of the Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century Ageing Research Cluster. Outside UCC, they have built links with TCD, NUI Galway, University of Limerick and the RCSI.
CGR has secured funding from a number of sources including the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF).
The centre is currently a partner in two FP7 funded projects, NILVAD: A clinical study for a new treatment in Alzheimer's disease (http://www.nilvad.eu/) and PERSSILAA: PERsonalised ICT Supported Services for Independent Living and Active Ageing (http://www.perssilaa.eu/). These activities aim to develop innovative and personalised approaches in the treatment and care of the elderly independent living and active ageing. The CARTS programme is currently being used as an outcome measure as part of the FP-7 PERSSILLA project.
The following are a list of current research activities within the centre. For more details on each click on the link.
5.1 Funding Secured 2010-2011:
1) HRB Fellowship Grant - €150,000: ‘A Prospective Study of the Incidence, Detection, Characterisation, Risk Factors and Outcomes of Delirium in older people in an acute hospital setting.’ Dr. Níamh O’Regan, Geriatric Specialist Registrar has commenced a PhD in July 2011, co-supervised with the Psychiatry Dept. in University of Limerick, which aims to improve our early detection of delirium in older people admitted to hospital.
2) a: HRB Summer Student Fellowship - €2,000: ‘A randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of an augmented exercise programme in frail hospitalized older people.’ This is an interdisciplinary research project, in collaboration with the Physiotherapy Dept. in Mercy University Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. A physiotherapy undergraduate student is performing a pilot exercise programme for eight to see if we can reduce functional decline in hospitalised older people.
2) b: Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists Bursary - €1,500: An occupational therapist is separately interviewing the patients and ward staff to determine their experience of the exercise programme. These two pilot studies will help to shape an application for a HRB Fellowship for a Senior Physiotherapist to perform a large-scale exercise programme study in 2012.
3) HRB Project Grant - €300,000: ‘The challenges in caring for patients with dementia in the acute hospital setting.’ This grant will pay for the salaries of a team of researcher assistants and nurses to quantify the cost and issues involved in behaviours that challenge in acute hospitals, with a view to providing a research base to strengthen the case for better funding of initiatives for older people with dementia in acute hospitals. The staff are currently being recruited, with the study planned to commence in early 2012.
4) European FP7 Funding for UCC as Co-Investigators Grant: ‘Nilvadepine in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease’.