Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC)

Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration

The Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) is a unique collaboration of health, research, aged care and advocacy organisations working together to improve the lives of older people.

Our vision is that older people received the best possible care and support through services, programs and policies which support health and optimal quality of life.

Logos of MARC partner organisations


It is difficult to meet the complex care needs of people living with dementia (PLWD) who present to emergency departments (ED), given the fast-paced environment focussed on rapid diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and discharge. As a result, unintended harm may arise. It has been well established that presenting to ED can be a disorientating, overwhelming and distressing experience for PLWD. Despite this, PLWD are 20% more likely to visit an ED than those without dementia. Extensive evidence also suggests there is a lack of gerontology skills and understanding of dementia in the ED setting and that staff feel challenged by the need for additional time and resources to treat PLWD.

Study Design

Researchers and ED staff will co-design the model. The first stage involves a brief survey of ED staff exploring their understanding of evidence based strategies for the care of the person living with cognitive impairment and their carer/companion in ED. Questions will explore the perceived extent to which these are being applied in their ED setting and to identify areas for improvement. Survey findings will inform focus group questions exploring a dementia friendly ED including all aspects e.g. organisational, environmental, person-centred, staff skills and education needs, and carer involvement as the “expert.” The second stage involves co-design of an ED intervention. The third stage will involve an evaluation of the intervention.


NARI, St Vincent’s Hospital, Austin Health, Western Health, Federation University, Monash University, Department of Health and Human Services

Project Summary