Dr Karen Watson is an aged care clinician and academic focused on the care needs of older people in a variety of health settings. She is also registered nurse with a background in naturopathy her research has examined complementary therapy interventions for the behavioural management of older people with and without dementia. Dr Watson is particularly interested in supporting the care needs of older people challenged by changes in cognition that can occur with healthy ageing and dementia.
Dr Watson holds an adjunct research fellow position with the MARCs Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Development where she is assisting the Time Travelling with Technology project team to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of Google Liquid Galaxy and web resources as an intervention for reducing behavioural and psychological symptoms of people with dementia.
Dr Watson currently holds an undergraduate and postgraduate lecturer position where she coordinates and teaches aged care.
- Reminiscence therapy
- Aged care
- Complementary therapies
- Aged Care
- Optimising Care in Chronic Conditions
- Primary Health Care
Watson, K & Hatcher, D 2020, 'Agitation in aged care: factors influencing nurses' selection of management strategies', Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research.
Smith, L, Disler, R & Watson, K 2020, 'Physical activity and dietary habits of first year nursing students: an Australian dual-method study', Collegian: The Australian Journal of Nursing Practice, Scholarship and Research.
Watson, K, Hatcher, D & Good, A 2019, 'A randomised controlled trial of Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) and Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) essential oils for the treatment of agitated behaviour in older people with and without dementia.', Complementary therapies in medicine, vol. 42, pp. 366-373.View/Download from: Publisher's site
OBJECTIVE:Lavender and Lemon Balm essential oils are popular in the management of older person agitation due to their ease of application, minimal side effects and low interaction with concurrent medications. This study addressed limitations in the literature to evaluate and compare effectiveness of Lavender and Lemon Balm essential oils on the agitated behaviour of older people with and without dementia living in residential aged care facilities [RACFs]. METHODS:Forty-nine nursing home residents with dementia (n=39) and without dementia (n=10) exhibiting agitation participated in this study. Participants were randomised to a counterbalanced, repeated measures design experiment that tests the treatments Lavender, Lemon Balm, and Placebo (Sunflower oil). Treatments were administered once daily for two-weeks followed by a two-week washout period before commencing the subsequent treatment. All participants trialed all three treatments over a 10-week period. Data were collected on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI). RESULTS:A significant difference was shown when essential oils effect were compared between the cognitive groups. Post hoc analysis reports Lemon Balm more effective in reducing NPI agitation (p = .04) and CMAI physical non-aggressive behaviour (PNAB) (p = .02) in residents without dementia. Lemon Balm less effective in reducing NPI irritability (p = 0.01) and Lavender more effective in reducing CMAI PNAB (p = 0.04) in dementia. CONCLUSION:The findings support an opposing effect of Lemon Balm and Lavender in reducing agitated behaviour between the participant cognitive groups. There was no reduction in agitation with treatments when compared to placebo independent of cognitive groups.
Watson, K, Hatcher, D & Good, A 2019, 'Influencing factors that support and build aged care research capacity: Staff perspectives', Collegian, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 34-39.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019 Background: Strategic collaborative networks between care staff and researchers can be a powerful means of improving the provision of safe and quality care. Aged care staff hold vital information on research practicality and ease of implementation in the clinical setting. Aged care staff are best positioned to advise on a study's feasibility in the clinical environment and for the particular residents in their care, regardless of the fact that they are often not involved in the research process. Aim: To explore aged care staff attitudes towards research particularly the influencing factors that promote and sustain care staff participation in research in the residential aged care facility (RACF)setting. Methods: Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted at two aged care facility sites in Sydney with 10 aged care staff before and after their participation in a randomised controlled trial on their ward. The interviews explored aged care staff perceptions of the importance of research, staff compliance and factors that influence research conducted in the RACF setting. Findings: Aged care staff reported on the importance of conducting research in RACFs. The barriers to staff participation included insufficient time (50%), lack of belief in intervention effect (30%), deficits in research knowledge (40%)or support (30%). Research perceived as practical (40%)that could be conducted unobtrusively (60%), provided tailored education (70%)with effective communication (50%)between researcher and aged care staff, was more favourable for staff participation. Discussion: Aged care staff recognised that findings from research when implemented was important for improving quality care provision but it was challenging to conduct research in the RACF setting. Implementing strategies that support aged care staff research time away from clinical tasks, access to research education and foster communication between academic and staff can improve care staff participatio...
Watson, K, Chang, E & Johnson, A 2012, 'The efficacy of complementary therapies for agitation among older people in residential care facilities: a systematic review', JBI Library of Systematic Reviews, vol. 10, no. 53, pp. 3414-3486.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Watson, K & McNally, S 2013, 'Understanding the ageing process : pharmacology and complementary therapies' in Caring for Older People in Australia Principles for Nursing Practice, pp. 171-202.
In recognition that clinical competencies and ?issues? do not occur in isolation, the text integrates the most up-to-date multidisciplinary research and policy with the practical realities of caring for older people.
Watson, KM 2013, 'Complementary therapies' in Living with Dementia A Practical Guide for Families and Personal Carers, Australian Council for Educational.
The book's contributors represent academics, practicing nurses, aged care professionals, and family advocates.
Watson, KM 2017, 'Lavandula Angustifolia and Melissa Officinalis for the agitation management in older adults : a mixed methods study'.
Purpose: This study was completed to provide evidence of effect for Lavender Angustifolia (Lavender) and Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm) essential oils as agitation managements for older people with and without a dementia diagnosis living in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). This research further sought to explore nurse understanding of agitation management and the viability for nurse administered essential oils for behaviour management in residents living in RACFs.
Method: The research was a three-phase sequential design consisting of two phases of semi-structured nurse interviews and a single blind randomised controlled trial [RCT]. Phase I involved semi-structured interviews conducted with 11 nurse participants, focusing on their understanding of agitation management, including the use of essential oils, and their understanding of and attitudes toward the conduct of research in the RACF environment. Findings influenced pre-trial nurse education, timing of intervention and data collection procedures of the Phase II RCT to best support the nurse and the success of the research. Phase II consisted of a 2x3 factorial design single blind RCT that investigated 49 residents with a history of agitation. Participants were allocated to group 1 residents with a dementia diagnosis or group 2 residents without dementia, as determined by their MMSE score or dementia diagnosis. Each resident was randomised within the group to a treatment sequence of Lavender, Lemon Balm or placebo Sunflower oil using a computerised random number generator. All residents received all treatments and as such acted as their own control. The trial was conducted over a 10-week period with residents receiving two drops of the assigned treatment oil daily for two weeks followed by a two-week washout period before commencing the consecutive treatment. Post trial, Phase III, involved semi structured interviews conducted with 10 nurses to identify perceived changes in agitation identified on t...