Dr Claire Burley is interested in healthy ageing, measures of brain health (e.g., MRI and Doppler imaging, neuropsychiatric, cognitive and quality of life), changed behaviours, psychological symptoms, dementia risk factors, and improving care for people living with dementia using person-centred, non-pharmacological approaches. Dr Burley has two research/ teaching roles at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, UNSW Sydney, both involving dementia and brain health. One is based at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), School of Psychiatry and the other is based at the Lifestyle Clinic, School of Health Sciences.
Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), School of Psychiatry:
Dr Burley's CHeBA project is focusing on improving care for people living with dementia in the hospital setting using person-centred, nonpharmacological, evidence-based approaches. This project received funding through a competitive NHMRC grant and Dr Burley is a CI. She manages the project with Professor Lynn Chenoweth. The study involves educating nursing, medical and allied health staff in person-centred concepts and approaches to care. These ultimately lead to improve quality of life for people living with dementia, reduced occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms, and lead to higher levels of staff satisfaction. Their team have shown that these approaches are effective in a hospital setting in a pilot study. Their current project is building on this work and a PhD student with extensive nursing experience is being supervised to develop online education packages and approaches that can be rolled out on a large scale across Australia.
The Lifestyle Clinic, School of Health Sciences:
Dr Burley's projects at the Lifestyle Clinic focus on improving physical and brain health using physical activity approaches provided by Accredited Exercise Physiologists. These projects include optimising exercise strategies for hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. These strategies aim to reduce pain, improve quality of life and reduce risk for falls and developing dementia. Two PhD students are being enrolled to support this work and Dr Burley is developing teaching materials for BSc Exercise Physiology students with a focus on the latest research into physical activity, dementia and brain health.
Other projects Dr Burley has recently completed include reviewing cost-effective approaches of person-centred care and other nonpharmacological approaches (Burley et al., 2020, International Psychogeriatrics), as misconceptions around costs are considered a barrier to implementing long-term beneficial change, particularly in residential care settings, a systematic review for approaches to reduce disinhibited behaviours in dementia (Burley et al. accepted Feb 2022, International Psychogeriatrics), a meta-analysis of nonpharmacological approaches that reduce symptoms of depression in dementia (under review, Ageing Research Reviews), a qualitative study investigating the views of people living with dementia towards changed behaviours that they experience (Burley et al., 2021, Frontiers in Psychiatry) and helpful/ unhelpful responses from others that people living with dementia find helpful (manuscript in preparation).