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


Prolonged grief disorder is a recently introduced diagnosis given when grief symptoms remain severe and impairing for longer than 6-12 months post-bereavement to an extent that they impact a person’s ability to function and cause significant distress. This is relevant for older adults because as people age, they become more likely to experience repeated losses and bereavements that may put them at risk of prolonged grief. A recent national MARC survey including 633 bereaved older adults across Australia found that 21% met the criteria for prolonged grief disorder, yet they rarely sought professional help. Interviews with primary care providers showed that many clinicians did not know what prolonged grief disorder was and how to support older adults after a bereavement. Healthcare workers in the community were seen as an important resource as they would see older clients at home and could notice subtle signs of grief more easily. However, given that prolonged grief disorder is a new clinical diagnosis, community care providers may benefit from training to help them identify older adults who may be at risk of developing prolonged grief.

Study Design

Building on the findings from the first MARC mental health study, MARC and Merri Health will co-design 10 micro-learning lessons on prolonged grief in older people targeted at community health workers. Each lesson will take 5-10 minutes to complete and can be accessed on participants’ mobile phones. The acceptability and usability of the lessons will be assessed via an online focus group, pre-post training surveys and interviews with Merri Health staff.

Since the purpose of this project is to develop micro-learning lessons for Merri Health, no ethics approval will be sought for this project. If additional funding can be acquired, a larger project including ethics approval can be developed.

Participating sites

NARI and Merri Health.

Project Summary