Consumers shaping research into nutrition and mealtime improvements

26 April 2024

A Queensland team is partnering with consumers to set priorities for future research and practice improvement projects to enhance nutrition and mealtime care services and optimise patient health outcomes during rehabilitation.

Leading the project is Hannah Olufson, a clinician-researcher dietitian at STARS and a PhD candidate at The University of Queensland.

Ms Olufson’s PhD research has explored person-centred care and interprofessional practice in nutrition and mealtime services across rehabilitation units.

“As a clinically embedded researcher, I’m committed to translating research into practice and building the capacity of others to improve the nutrition and mealtime care systems in rehabilitation units,” Ms Olufson said.

“My PhD research involved a wide range of stakeholders, including 165 patients in rehabilitation, support persons and diverse staff, whose insights and experiences have identified opportunities to enhance services.”

When it came to sharing and discussing the findings of her PhD research to shape the priorities for future research and projects, Hannah consulted with other dietitians and managers before successfully applying for a Health Translation Queensland (HTQ) Consumer and Community Involvement (CCI) microgrant to support consultation with consumers.

This funding calls attention to the importance of consumer involvement right from the project’s inception. It also facilitates collaboration among diverse stakeholders.

“I’m grateful for HTQ’s support to involve consumers in setting future priorities,” Ms Olufson said.

“HTQ’s CCI microgrant enabled me to facilitate a 3-hour session with 6 consumers in late 2023.

“We discussed my PhD findings and set priorities together for future research, translation into practice projects and grant applications.

“So far, the consumer group’s feedback and ideas have directly informed one patient care initiative I’m working on, supported by a RBWH Foundation Grant.

“In this project, we are co-designing new videos that enhance access to reliable nutrition information for patients, support people and staff.

“Many consumers involved in the priority-setting session supported by HTQ have gone on to be involved in the video project, and they have also referred other consumers to join our project team.

“The feedback of the initial group has also informed plans for further research, which is directly shaping my clinician-researcher fellowship applications.

“In the future, I hope to use CCI microgrant funding to shape further project ideas and research funding applications to progress the ideas and opportunities for improvement identified by consumers.”

For more information or to apply for a HTQ Consumer and Community Involvement microgrant, please visit our webpage.

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