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Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network

  • Translational Research Grants Scheme
Date Funded:
  • 14 May, 2018
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Sharlene Kaye

This project aims to investigate the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of a novel intervention (exergaming) to promote physical activity among patients of locked-ward mental health units. This project addresses a clearly identified priority to reduce the excess health burden associated with cardiovascular disease among this population. Outcomes will directly improve the care of patients of the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network and other NSW Health local health districts/specialty networks, particularly those in restricted psychiatric inpatient settings.

Demonstrated feasibility, acceptability and positive patient outcomes, with minimal impact on resources and patient safety, will maximise the potential for:
1. embedding the intervention into routine practice
2. sustainability
3. scalability statewide across the NSW Health system.

Research questions are:
1. Is a physical activity program based on exergaming able to be conducted within the setting of a locked-ward mental health unit?
2. Is exergaming an acceptable intervention for promoting physical activity among patients and staff of such units?
3. Is the proposed intervention associated with improved physical and mental health outcomes for patients?

The project is a quasi-experimental two-arm pilot study using a non-equivalent control group, pre-test/post-test design conducted across two sub-acute units of the Long Bay Hospital Mental Health Unit (30 patients from each unit). Eligible patients from the intervention site will receive an exercise program comprising 3×30 minute exergaming sessions per week for 12 weeks using activity-based games designed to simulate moderate intensity exercise. Patients from the comparison site will receive “treatment as usual” (i.e. standard model of care provided by the Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network).

Collaborators: Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, NSW Ministry of Health (Mental Health Branch)