Disability

We aim to help reduce the global epidemic of physical inactivity.

People with physical disabilities face additional barriers to being physically active but physical activity has particular benefits for people with disabilities. This theme focuses on developing and testing strategies to enable people with disabilities to be more active.

IMH-led projects

We hope the findings of this project lead to improved physical activity levels in adults who have difficulty walking.

The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of two physical activity interventions on adults with self-reported walking difficulty. The participant will be allocated to one of three groups. The first intervention includes: a tailored physical activity plan based on a face-to-face assessment with a physiotherapist; six months of phone-based health coaching; use of technology to keep you active and access to online resources.  The second intervention is a less intensive health-coaching program involving a phone consultation with a physiotherapist, monthly text messages to follow up and access to online resources.  The third group will receive no intervention for the first six months and then receive the second intervention for the second six months. The project will be conducted over 12 months. You may be eligible to participate in this study if you are 18 years or older, living in the community, and have a mobility limitation – difficulty or inability to walk 800m.

Principal Investigator: Professor Cathie Sherrington

Chief Investigators: Professor Rana Hinman, Professor Maria Crotty, Professor Tammy Hoffmann, Professor Anne Tiedemann, Professor Lisa Harvey, Professor Nicholas Taylor and Associate Professor Leanne Hassett.

For more information about this project, please contact Associate Professor Leanne Hassett.

This is a NHMRC Project Grant (2018 – 2021).

We hope the findings of this project will lead to improved physical activity levels in people living with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The aim of this project is to develop clinical practice guidelines for physical activity in people across all ages living with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Australia. A plan will also be developed for the effective implementation of these guidelines.

The first stage involves evaluating the fit of the 2020 WHO physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for people living with disability to those living with a moderate-to-severe TBI. This includes considering the evidence available regarding physical activity in TBI, preferences for physical activity, perspectives of relevant stakeholders and the feasibility of guideline implementation. Stage two involves auditing brain injury rehabilitation services across Australia to understand how physical activity is delivered and promoted to identify current practice and where practice inconsistencies exist. The third stage involves adapting the WHO guidelines into national clinical practice guidelines for people living with TBI, informed from stages one and two. The final stage involves the development of a plan for implementation of these national practice guidelines based on the identification of barriers and facilitators.

Principle Investigator: A/Prof Leanne Hassett

Co-Investigators: Prof Gavin Williams (UniMelb); Prof Cathie Sherrington (USyd); A/Prof Sean Tweedy (UQ); Prof Luke Wolfenden (UniNewcastle); Prof Maria Crotty (Flinders); Prof Kirsten Howard (USyd); Dr Abby Haynes (USyd); Emeritus Prof Adrian Bauman (USyd); A/Prof Grahame Simpson (USyd); A/Prof Adam Scheinberg (MCRI); Prof Anne Tiedemann (USyd); Gabrielle Vassallo (consumer representative); Nick Rushworth (BIA)

Collaborating Organisations: Brain Injury Australia, Connectivity TBI; icare NSW; Heads Together for ABI

Research team: Dr Liam Johnson (UniMelb); Sakina Chagpar (USyd); Belinda Wang (USyd)

Funding: MRFF 2020 Traumatic Brain Injury Mission, Stream 2-incubator 2021-2023.

We hope the findings of this project will lead to improved physical activity levels in patients receiving brief physical activity counselling as part of their physiotherapy treatment.

BEHAVIOUR is a hybrid type II cluster randomised controlled trial. The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-faceted implementation strategy compared to usual care on increasing the proportion of patients receiving brief physical activity counselling as part of hospital-based physiotherapy care, and subsequently improving the physical activity levels among these patients. Physiotherapists in the intervention group will be assigned to receive the multi-faceted implementation strategy immediately to support them to incorporate brief physical activity counselling into their routine care. The main implementation strategies will include education training, creating a learning collaborative, tailored strategies to address community referral barriers, facilitation and audit and feedback. The control group will receive an updated version of the implementation strategy at the end of the trial. The trial will be conducted with physiotherapists across all hospitals in South Western Sydney Local Health District and will include participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Principle Investigator: A/Prof Leanne Hassett

Co-Investigators: Professor Catherine Sherrington (USyd), Mr Matthew Jennings (SWSLHD), Dr Marina Pinheiro (USyd), Dr Bernadette Brady (SWSLHD/USyd), Professor Sarah Dennis (Usyd/SWSLHD), Professor Kirsten Howard (USyd), Dr Alison Pearce (USyd), Dr Lauren Christie (St Vincent’s Health Network Australia, ACU/SWSLHD), Ms Balwinder Sidhu (SWSLHD), Professor Colin Greaves (UniBirmingham)

Funding: MRFF preventive & public health grant 2020-2023; NHMRC TRIP Fellowship 2019-2020.

For more information about this project, please contact Associate Professor Leanne Hassett.

Theme leader: Associate Professor Leanne Hassett

BAppSc(Phty), MHlthSc(Neuro Phty), PhD

Associate Professor Leanne Hassett is a physiotherapist and mid-career academic at the University of Sydney, working in a 40:40:20 academic role in the Sydney School of Health Sciences (0.6FTE) and a research-intensive academic role in the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health (0.4FTE), leading the research theme of physical activity for people with physical disabilities. A/Prof Hassett is currently seconded from her academic role (0.4FTE) to the leadership team of the Implementation Science Program within Sydney Health Partners, an NHMRC-accredited Advanced Health Research and Translation Centre. A/Prof Hassett also holds an Honorary Senior Research Fellowship position in South Western Sydney Local Health District, where A/Prof Hassett worked clinically for 15 years in brain injury rehabilitation.