​​Carer Knowledge Exchange: Connecting research to practice to improve outcomes for carers​

​Sarah Judd-Lam and Francisca Loyola-Sandoval​

Carers NSW

​As anyone working in aged care will have experienced, family and friend carers have a vital role as partners in supporting the wellbeing of the older person, both in residential and home care settings, and when accessing services such as respite care. Family and friend carers provide support in myriad ways, including physical, social, emotional, and financial support; typically taking on roles as advocates and substitute decision makers. [1] Adopting an evidence-based approach to support and enhance these crucial carer relationships is vital. However, implementing best-practice approaches and referrals to address the unmet needs of carers can pose challenges for aged care providers, especially when their primary focus is on the older person who is their funded client. 

​Sarah Judd-Lam, Executive Manager Policy, Development and Research at Carers NSW, describes how the Carer Knowledge Exchange can bridge the knowledge gap for aged care providers and their staff, connecting them to research, and creating awareness on how best to support family and friend carers.   

​She says, “the Carer Knowledge Exchange (CKE), a collaboration between Carers NSW and the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney, is now making it easier to access the carer evidence base, and to find and share experience and expertise to improve outcomes for family and friend carers across Australia. Proudly funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice, the CKE includes a research library, regular interactive events and webinars, and opportunities to connect with others via a Discussion Forum and Carer Hub “ 

​The Research Library hosts searchable Australian research on diverse carer-related topics. Aged Care Services from Afar: What matters to Australian Long-Distance Care Givers [2] and Mental health outcomes of carers during the transition of their family member to residential aged care [3] are just two examples of the many articles available that would interest aged care providers and staff.    

​The catalogue of CKE webinars continues to grow, with a wide range of topics on offer, sharing the expertise of researchers, practitioners and carers, and emphasising the importance of evidence. As Laila Hallam, Chair of the Consumer Leaders in Health Collective explained in a CKE webinar on Carer Engagement in Health Care Settings, “If you are articulating a particular position, it can be seen as an opinion. What we’re trying to do is put knowledge behind that. It’s really important that it’s not just my voice saying something, it’s able to be backed up, there are a few ways of doing this, and evidence is one way”.  

​Sarah Judd-Lam explains that “the Carer Knowledge Exchange aims to be accessible to everyone, including practitioners, and family and friend carers themselves, with opportunities for them to help shape research and advocacy, and learn from the work of others to inform their own caring role.” 

​The next CKE interactive webinar ‘Empowering carers when systems are complex’ will explore how carer empowerment can be promoted and sustained in service settings with a focus on ongoing reviews and reforms in the disability, Aged Care, and carer support sectors - Wednesday 21st February 2024 from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Register at

​You can also learn more and stay in touch with the CKE by signing up to the CKE mailing list or following on Facebook or LinkedIn.

*The views and opinions expressed in Knowledge Blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ARIIA, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.

  1. ​Temple J, Dow B, Kosowicz L. Carers of older Australians: Unmet support needs and carer well-being. Aust J Prim Health. 2021;27(3):178-185
  2. ​Gunn KM, Luker J, Ramanathan R, Skrabal Ross X, Hutchinson A, Huynh E, et al. Choosing and managing aged care services from afar: What matters to Australian long-distance care givers. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(24)
  3. ​Camões-Costa V, Loganathan J, Barton C, Chakraborty S, Hewitt A, Lin X, et al. Factors contributing to the mental health outcomes of carers during the transition of their family member to residential aged care: A systematic search and narrative review. BMC Geriatr. 2022;22(1):433
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