About our research

Research workstreams

ResearchEach research workstream has a district health board (DHB) lead and an academic lead.
The combination of research and clinical expertise this joint venture will provide enhance research activity in five main work streams: 

  1. Rehabilitation
    John Parsons (Academic lead)
    Michael Kaplan (DHB lead)
  2. Mental health and older people
    Prasadarao Podugu (Academic lead)
    Phil Wood (DHB lead)
  3. Older people in the community
    Peggy Koopman-Boyden (Academic lead)
    Matthew Parsons (DHB lead)
  4. Workforce development
    Michael O'Driscoll (Academic lead)
    Ruth Ross (DHB lead)
  5. Best practice (clinical)
    Julia Slark (Academic lead)
    Sarah Fowler (DHB lead) 

See below for progress reports and descriptions of the research projects.

Research deliverables

Key deliverables will be:

  • Identification of service delivery and quality issues that would benefit from research.
  • Identification of health professionals that would increase their research, management and service delivery expertise through involvement in research projects.
  • A conduit for ensuring that research projects deliver an ever increasing evidence base for improved care.
  • Development of a culture of research and innovation within Waikato DHB.
  • The provision of a supportive environment for those who undertake research, including those undertaking Masters and PhD theses.
  • Collaboration with local Universities, Polytechnics and other regional centres.

Research operations

The set tasks for the academic and DHB lead positions involve:

  • Developing, implementing and supporting a research “work” plan for the work stream
  • Developing an active research programme and programme membership, including DHB, UoA School of Nursing, and any other people from health providers and academic research institutions that would enhance the output of the research workstream
  • Reporting progress monthly to the IHA co-directors, who will then report to the IHA Governance Group
  • Ensure that at least once per year, and if asked more often, the research workstream will contribute to IHA seminars by presentations of current and completed research
  •  Working with researchers to ensure research results are published in academic journals, with the results disseminated in other formats also to ensure the results are available to a wide population

Current status of research

Every quarter each research workstream will report on their work status.

Progress report as at April 2016


Service Development


 Developing new ways to minimise disability after stroke
(A randomised controlled trial of Functional Electrical Stimulation of the arm, funded by The University of Auckland)


What are the experiences and ongoing needs of working age adults following stroke within the Waikato region? 
(Qualitative, funded by School of Nursing Development grant)
Julia Slark
Email: j.slark@auckland.ac.nz


Restricted weight bearing and functional outcomes for older people following lower limb fracture


Shouldering the burden of upper limb fractures in older people
(Random Control Trial, to be funded by HRC)
John Parsons
Email: j.parsons@auckland.ac.nz

Not funded  

Mental health research projects


Integrative review of the New Zealand literature on dementias and related conditions
(Literature review, supported by Mental Health Services for Older People)

Completed and published 

View results here

A review of referrals made to Waikato DHB Mental Health Service for Older People for clients presenting with behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia: an analysis of current service provision and identification of potential service improvements
(Supported by Mental Health Services for Older People)


Directed Reminiscence Therapy: a new approach towards maximising quality of life amongst people with mild cognitive impairment using electroencephalogram (EEG) to identify key areas of communication in conjunction with developing an electroencephalography system to enable reminiscence therapy for patients with mild cognitive impairment.
(Electrode site identification,  funded by the University of Auckland Development funds – Medical and Health Sciences in collaboration with Engineering)

Active. PhD student completing analysis of EEG signals

In the community


ACC START evaluation
Funded by ACC
Sarah Fowler
Email: Sarah.Fowler@waikatodhb.health.nz 



START evaluation
Funded by HRC partnership grant


Carers research
(Longitudinal survey of carers with Carers New Zealand, coordinated out of Waikato DHB Older Persons and Rehabilitation academic unit, funded by Saudi Doctoral scholarship)



Under 65 work.
(An integrated project to improve outcomes for younger people following stroke. Funding to be decided.

Developmental phase

Workforce development


Developing a culture of nursing leadership in Waikato DHB
(Action research)
Stephen Jacobs
Email: s.jacobs@auckland.ac.nz

PhD student in place. Ethics for first phase approved. 

Evaluation and performance management of BNurs (Hons) programme
(Evaluation and development of performance management criteria)
Stephen Jacobs
Email: s.jacobs@auckland.ac.nz

Development phase

Development of a leadership programme in Aged Residential Care in Waikato

Short evaluation undertaken in-house. Provided information for quality improvement.

Best practice (clinical)

Topic, method, key contact, other membersStatus

Young stroke survivors experiences after discharge.

Completed. Publication in British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing.

Applied interdisciplinary approach to the implementation of Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) for older vulnerable people (ERAS PLUS): A pathway for elective and emergency fractured neck of femur, hip and knee replacements

 On hold due to implementation difficulties.

Factors influencing patient activity in stroke rehabilitation

New project. Ethics approval granted 19/10/2015. Project started, five interviews performed to date. Staff survey underway.