B. Sci (Med), MOT (Hons), PhD
Claire is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology, UNSW, Senior Research Fellow (Honorary) with NeuRA, and Honorary Research Associate with HammondCare. She is also a registered occupational therapist (AHPRA). Claire holds a PhD in dementia (University of Sydney) that investigated behaviour and function in people living with frontotemporal dementia, and involved piloting an activity-based occupational therapy intervention with this unique cohort. She is currently undertaking a Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) post doctoral fellowship to understand how to bridge the implementation gap to maximise everyday functioning for people living with dementia. Combining her clinical training in occupational therapy and research skills, Claire is passionate about contributing to research that is meaningful to ageing populations and people impacted by dementia.
Claire's PhD contributed increased knowledge around behaviour and function in frontotemporal dementia and highlighted the feasibility and acceptability of delivering non-pharmacological interventions in the community for activity engagement and behaviour management in this unique cohort.
More recently, she was the project coordinator for the Reablement in Dementia project that led to development of the freely available Reablement Handbook, technical guide and consumer book, and was awarded Australian Association of Gerontology Research Trust funding to develop an Assessment Guide for evaluating meaningful reablement outcomes for people living with dementia. All of these resources are freely available: www.hammond.com.au/reablement. She was recently awarded Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) funding to lead a project evaluating the implementation of Arts on Prescription (AoP)@Home for people living with dementia and their supporters.
Claire has presented her work widely (both nationally and internationally) and in 2017 was invited as a keynote speaker at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is regularly consulted as a peer reviewer for highly esteemed international journals (e.g. Ageing & Mental Health, BMC Geriatrics, Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Impairment, Cortex) as well as prestigious international meetings (e.g. World Federation of Occupational Therapy; AAIC) and sits on the editorial board for the Australian Journal of Dementia Care.
2019 – 2021 NHMRC Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration Capacity Building in Care Research Fellowship
Claire's current research activities include projects such as:
She also maintains collaborations with broader research teams, for example, is a member of the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research Special Interest Group in Rehabilitation and Dementia, the StepUp for Dementia Research: Research Involvement Panel, and was recently an invited contributor to a Package of Rehabilitation Interventions for the WHO 2020-21 and for the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) dementia module guideline 2021-22.
In the media:
O'Connor & Low (August 2016): 'Answering the same questions over and over: how to talk to people with dementia’ on The Conversation: http://theconversation.com/answering-the-same-questions-over-and-over-how-to-talk-to-people-with-dementia-61805
O'Connor (July 2016): How to best manage the behavioural changes in frontotemporal dementia on the NeuRA Blog: https://blog.neura.edu.au/2016/07/behavioural-changes-ftd/
2020 – present, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute
2019 – present, Australian Association of Gerontology
2019 – present, Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC)
2019 – present, NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research (NNIDR) membership network
2017 – 2018, Occupational Therapy Australia
2015 –2018, International Society for Frontotemporal Dementias (ISFTD)
2015 – 2018, International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART)
2012 – present, Registered with Occupational Therapy Board of Australia, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)