Angela is a casual academic and has completed her PhD with IMPACCT in August 2019. She is conducting a phase II randomised controlled trial on implementing meditation in heart disease clinical settings (The MENTOR Study), and was previously the study co-ordinator for an ARC funded Heart Awareness for Women randomised controlled trial that explored gender specific strategies to improve heart disease for women in cardiac rehabilitation. She is developing a program of research into mind-body therapies and heart disease secondary prevention, focusing on psychological health, stress-management and integrated care.
- European Society of Cardiology
- Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association
- Sigma Theta Tau International
- Australian College of Nursing
- Alternatives to Violence Project
- BMC Cardiology
- BMJ Open
- Journal of the American Heart Association
- Chronic Illness
- Contemporary Nurse
- Cardiac rehabilitation
- Secondary prevention
- Psychological health
- Mind-body therapies (meditation)
- Integrated care
- Contemporary Indigenous Health and Wellbeing
- Navigating Transition
- Evidence for Nursing
- Communication and Diversity
- Professional Accountability
- Health Education and Health Promotion
Rao, A, Zecchin, R, Newton, PJ, Phillips, JL, DiGiacomo, M, Denniss, AR & Hickman, LD 2020, 'The prevalence and impact of depression and anxiety in cardiac rehabilitation: A longitudinal cohort study.', European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, vol. 27, no. 5, pp. 478-489.View/Download from: Publisher's site
BACKGROUND:Co-morbid depression and anxiety symptoms are frequently under-recognised and under-treated in heart disease and this negatively impacts self-management. AIMS:The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence, correlates and predictors of depression and anxiety in cardiac rehabilitation programmes, the impact of cardiac rehabilitation on moderate depression, anxiety and stress symptoms, and the relationship between moderate depression, anxiety and stress symptoms and cardiac rehabilitation adherence. METHODS:This was a retrospective cohort study of 5908 patients entering cardiac rehabilitation programmes from 2006-2017, across two Sydney metropolitan teaching hospitals. Variables included demographics, diagnoses, cardiovascular risk factors, medication use, participation rates, health status (Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36) and psychological health (Depression Anxiety Stress Scales) subscale scores. RESULTS:Moderate depression, anxiety or stress symptoms were prevalent in 18%, 28% and 13% of adults entering cardiac rehabilitation programmes, respectively. Adults with moderate depression (24% vs 13%), anxiety (32% vs 23%) or stress (18% vs 10%) symptoms were significantly less likely to adhere to cardiac rehabilitation compared with those with normal-mild symptoms (p < 0.001). Anxiety (odds ratio 4.395, 95% confidence interval 3.363-5.744, p < 0.001) and stress (odds ratio 4.527, 95% confidence interval 3.315-6.181, p < 0.001) were the strongest predictors of depression. Depression (odds ratio 3.167, 95% confidence interval 2.411-4.161) and stress (odds ratio 5.577, 95% confidence interval 4.006-7.765, p < 0.001) increased the risk of anxiety on entry by more than three times, above socio-demographic factors, cardiovascular risk factors, diagnoses and quality of life. CONCLUSION:Monitoring depression and anxiety symptoms on entry and during cardiac rehabilitation can assist to improve adherence and may identify the need for additional psyc...
Rao, A, DiGiacomo, M, Newton, P, Phillips, J & Hickman, L 2019, 'Meditation and secondary prevention of depression and anxiety in heart disease: A systematic review', Mindfulness, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 1-14.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Heart disease is the leading cause of global mortality, accounting for 13.7 million deaths annually. Optimising depression and anxiety symptoms in adults with heart disease is an international priority. Heart disease secondary prevention is best achieved through implementation of sustainable pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions, including meditation. Meditation is a means of generating self-awareness and has implications for enhanced self-management of depression and anxiety symptoms. This review aims to identify high-level quantitative evidence for meditation interventions designed to improve depression and/or anxiety symptoms among adults with heart disease and ascertain the most important elements of meditation interventions that facilitate positive depression and/or anxiety outcomes. This systematic review and narrative synthesis was completed in accordance with the PRISMA Statement and has adhered to the Cochrane Risk of Bias guideline. Six databases were searched between 1975 and 2017. Statistically significant outcomes were demonstrated in over half (5/9) of phase II meditation studies for depression and/or anxiety and involved 477 participants. Meditation interventions that generated positive outcomes for depression and/or anxiety included elements such as focused attention to body parts (or body scan) (3/4 studies) and/or group meetings (4/5 studies). Meditation is a means of reframing heart disease outpatient services towards an integrated model of care. Future adequately powered phase III studies are needed to confirm which meditation elements are associated with reductions in depression and anxiety; and the differential effects between concentrative and mindfulness-based meditation types among adults with heart disease.
Hickman, L, DiGiacomo, M, Phillips, J, Rao, A, Newton, P, Jackson, D & Ferguson, C 2018, 'Improving evidence based practice in postgraduate nursing programs: Asystematic review', Nurse Education Today, vol. 63, pp. 69-75.View/Download from: Publisher's site
The nursing profession has a significant evidence to practice gap in an increasingly complex and dynamic health care environment.
To evaluate effectiveness of teaching and learning strategies related to a capstone project within a Masters of Nursing program that encourage the development of evidence based practice capabilities.
Systematic review that conforms to the PRISMA statement. Sample: Master's Nursing programs that include elements of a capstone project within a university setting.
Data Sources/Review Methods
MEDLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, ERIC and PsycInfo were used to search for RCT's or quasi experimental studies conducted between 1979 and 9 June 2017, published in a peer reviewed journal in English.
Of 1592 studies, no RCT's specifically addressed the development of evidence based practice capabilities within the university teaching environment. Five quasi-experimental studies integrated blended learning, guided design processes, small group work, role play and structured debate into Masters of Nursing research courses. All five studies demonstrated some improvements in evidence based practice skills and/or research knowledge translation, with three out of five studies demonstrating significant improvements.
There is a paucity of empirical evidence supporting the best strategies to use in developing evidence based practice skills and/or research knowledge translation skills for Master's Nursing students. As a profession, nursing requires methodologically robust studies that are discipline specific to identify the best approaches for developing evidence-based practice skills and/or research knowledge translation skills within the university teaching environment. Provision of these strategies will enable the nursing profession to integrate the best empirical evidence into nursing practice.
Rao, A, Newton, P, DiGiacomo, M, Hickman, L, Hwang, C & Davidson, P 2018, 'Optimal gender specific strategies for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease in women: a systematic review', Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 279-285.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Rao, A, Hickman, LD, Phillips, JL & Sibbritt, D 2016, 'Prevalence and characteristics of Australian women who use prayer or spiritual healing: A nationally representative cross-sectional study', COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES IN MEDICINE, vol. 27, pp. 35-42.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Rao, A, Hickman, LD, Sibbritt, D, Newton, PJ & Phillips, JL 2016, 'Is energy healing an effective non-pharmacological therapy for improving symptom management of chronic illnesses? A systematic review', COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES IN CLINICAL PRACTICE, vol. 25, pp. 26-41.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Rao, A, DiGiacomo, M, Phillips, J & Hickman, L 2019, 'Health professional perspectives of the organisational barriers and facilitators to implementing meditation in heart disease clinical settings', Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association, Kirribilli, NSW.
Rao, A, Zecchin, R, Newton, P, Phillips, J, DiGiacomo, M, Denniss, R & Hickman, L 2019, 'Prevalence and predictors of depression and anxiety in a cardiac rehabilitation population and its impact on adherence: A cohort study', Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association, Kirribilli, NSW.
Rao, A, Sibbritt, D, Phillips, J & Hickman, L 2016, ''Prayer or spiritual healing as adjuncts to conventional care: A cross sectional analysis of the prevalence and characteristics of use among women.', Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health Scientific Meeting, Newcastle, Australia.
Rao, A, Sibbritt, D, Phillips, J & Hickman, LD 2016, 'Prayer or spiritual healing for the health and well-being of two generations of women: A nationally representative cross-sectional study.', 21st international Council on Women's Health Issues (ICOWHI) Congress. Scale and Sustainability: Moving Women's Health Issues Forward., Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Rao, A, DiGiacomo, M, Newton, P, Phillips, J, Davidson, PM & Hickman, L 2016, 'Meditation as a secondary prevention strategy for heart disease: a systematic review', Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation Association Conference, Adelaide.
Rao, A, Newton, P, DiGiacomo, M, Hickman, LD, Hwang, C & Davidson, PM 2016, 'Which gender specific cardiac rehabilitation models best reduce cardiovascular risk in women?', 21st International Council on Women's Health Issues (ICOWHI) Cogress. Scale and Sustainability: Moving Women's Health Issues Forward, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Western Sydney Local Health District