Select Page

Australian ReAble Collaborators

Dr Elissa Burton

Dr Elissa Burton works as a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science at Curtin University. Elissa isa Sports Scientist and completed her PhD in July 2014. She has received grants worth over $1.1 million, has published 36 peer-reviewed journal articles and over 50 organisational and government reports. Her research interest is in healthy ageing, particularly exploring and using different forms of physical activity and exercise to assist older people to stay living healthy, independent lives.  She has also evaluated reablement and home care and assessment services and conducted falls prevention and ‘lift-assist’ research with 10 home care organisations in Western Australia.

Hilary O’Connell

Hilary is an Occupational Therapist with broad experience across the ageing, disability and housing sectors in the United Kingdom and Australia. Her passion rests with wellness and reablement focused service models in community care where she has been fortunate to work in various roles including clinician, working with researchers to develop reablement services, project lead and service manager. Hilary sees supporting older people to retain and regain their independence and enable people to do what they have reason to value is a human right.
Since emigrating to Australia in 1996 Hilary has worked in a variety of roles including:
• developing and pioneering the implementation of the nationally recognised Silver Chain reablement service – The Home Independence Program (HIP) and in partnership with the WA Home and Community Care program established the WA Home and Community Care Program (WA HACC) Wellness Approach.
• working with WA Health to develop the WA Regional Assessment Services and embed reablement strategies at the entry point to community care as part of the assessment process
• since joining the Independent Living Centre WA in 2014 operational management of the Regional Assessment Services and the establishment of an Allied Health Service for older people which provides short term, targeted and goal focused interventions
• oversight of projects including the scoping of a best practice Home Modifications and Assistive Technology model to actively improve reablement outcomes for HACC clients

Hilary is currently employed at the Independent Living Assessment Incorporated as Principal Advisor Wellness and Reablement.
Hilary has presented extensively on wellness and reablement and has co authored peer reviewed papers on the Home Independence Program with Professor Gill Lewin and on Falls Prevention in Community Care with Dr Elissa Burton.

Dr Mia Rahja

Miia Rahja is an occupational therapist and post-doctoral research associate with Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute, Flinders University, Adelaide. She is passionate about developing, implementing and evaluating programs aimed at improving participation and care options for people living with cognitive decline and dementia.

Miia completed her PhD in 2019 evaluating the implementation of an evidence-based reablement program for people with dementia in Australia. Her mixed methods work showed that the uptake of these programs could advance dementia care in Australia, including upskilling occupational therapists to deliver evidence-based programs in the community, while producing societally and economically positive outcomes.
Miia has also developed and teaches a dementia specific topic, “Improving the wellbeing of people with dementia and their caregivers”, for a postgraduate course in Clinical Rehabilitation at Flinders University.