ANZSGM ASM 2017 Older peoples care through Community, Collaboration and Communication 10-12 May 2017 Rotorua New Zealand

Dr Heidi Janssen

NSW Hunter New England Health Community Stroke Team and Hunter Stroke Service University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute which includes the Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury and NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery

Dr Heidi Janssen is a Hunter New England Health physiotherapist and University of Newcastle researcher working in field of stroke rehabilitation and stroke recovery research. She is experienced in the physiotherapy management of stroke survivors at all stages of their recovery with published work including both basic science and clinical research.

Dr Janssen completed her PhD in 2013 in stroke recovery research, The Use of an Enriched Environment Post Stroke: Bench to Bedside which was the pre-cursor to the trial she is currently co-ordinating, “Altering the Rehabilitation Environment to Improve Stroke Survivor Activity (AREISSA)”, - a phase II trial to determine safety and feasibility of an enriched environment during inpatient rehabilitation. Within AREISSA includes work to investigate boredom in stroke patients, determine staff and patient experience of barriers and enablers to activity during inpatient rehabilitation and evaluation of implementation strategies used to embed environmental enrichment in the clinical setting.

Dr Janssen is currently supported by a New South Wales Health Early-Mid Career Research Fellowship to evaluate the implementation of a stroke education and exercise program for TIA and mild stroke patients which incorporates gym based exercise, telehealth and health coaching over the phone. Other research interests include creating a communication enhanced environment to improve communication activity in stroke patients during inpatient rehab and the development of strategies to reduce sedentary activity in stroke survivors (Breaking Up Sitting Time After Stroke: (BUST-Stroke)).


Science Behind Environmental Design and Optimising Health Environments

Dr Heidi Janssen 1,2, Physiotherapist and NSW Health EMC Fellow,

1 Hunter Stroke Service and Community Stroke Team, Hunter New England Health Local Health District, Newcastle NSW, Australia

2 Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle NSW, Australia

Evidence from animal models of disease indicate that animals exposed to an enriched environment perform better on tests of motor function and cognition, are more resilient and recover from infection and brain injury quicker than those animals housed in standard, or relatively less enriched environments. Environmental enrichment describes conditions which promote greater sensorimotor, cognitive and social stimulation and has been shown to enhance neuroplasticity in healthy, ageing and diseased brains.

This evidence suggests that the health environment in which humans recover from illness and injury or in which they reside during long term rehabilitation or care, may have a significant effect on their health outcomes and quality of life. Despite this evidence, the majority of health environments and aged care settings provide very few opportunities for stimulating experiences. Design, contents and culture within these environments promote dependency and inactivity rather than autonomy and engagement in sensorimotor, cognitive and social activities.

This presentation summaries experimental and human evidence relating to how health environment design, content and culture contributes to general health, well-being and recovery. Particular focus will be given to the role an enriched environment plays including the impact of building design and access to nature in aged care settings. 



Important Dates

Call for Abstracts open: 25th October 2016

Registration Opens: 18th November 2016

Call for Abstracts Closes: 24th February 2017

Notification of Abstracts: 20th March 2017

Close of Early Registration: 31st March 2017

Conference: 10th May 2017


Host Organisation



Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM)

145 Macquarie Street

Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

Tel: +61 2 9256 5460

Fax: +61 2 9241 3458



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