Vitamin D Implementation (ViDAus) Study Now Underway


The Vitamin D Implementation (ViDAus) Study is now well under way with 32 NSW sites recruited from two aged care organisations and SA sites still to be confirmed, meeting our recruitment target of 30 participating sites.

The aim of this trial is to evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of a multifaceted interdisciplinary intervention to increase adequate vitamin D supplement use in Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs).

The current Cochrane review for interventions to prevent falls in RACFs, and The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s (ACSQHC) Falls Prevention guidelines recognise the strong evidence for use of vitamin D supplements in the aged care population, and recommend that all residents be considered for vitamin D supplementation. The most recent study on the prevalence of vitamin D supplement use conducted as part of this activity found that less than half of residents were prescribed adequate doses of vitamin D from a sample of over 1500 residents across three Australian states.

In addition to conducting this prevalence study, the past 12 months has involved consultation with the Activity 12 advisory group and other stakeholders, in addition to a review of the evidence to establish methods of implementation most likely to be effective at increasing the uptake of adequate vitamin D supplement use.

From this it has been established that there is no obvious single implementation intervention that is guaranteed to be effective and that interest, acceptance, engagement and commitment from stakeholders will be paramount to success. Understanding the contextual factors and how they vary between participating sites, including organisational culture and local priorities has also been determined as an important factor pertaining to the uptake of evidence into practice.

This 12 month intervention will be delivered to two groups of aged care facilities and will involve the provision of tailored information and education to relevant stakeholder groups, in addition to audits of vitamin D supplement use and falls, use of an expert opinion leader, local leaders and context specific quality improvement activities.

Written information and links to online resources will be provided to servicing general practitioners, pharmacists and allied health professionals and face-to-face education and online resources will be made available to staff members of participating sites. In addition to this, residents and their families will have access to printed material, online resources and a short educational video and each participating site will receive printed posters and pens to help spread the important message about vitamin D supplements. All of these resources can be accessed at this link ‘ ’.

It is expected that this intervention will result in a sustained increase of adequate vitamin D supplement use to meet best practice guidelines for falls prevention, and improve the quality of life and wellbeing of residents. It is also intended that increased awareness of the importance and evidence surrounding vitamin D supplement use will result in improved care practices to ensure the timely identification of residents suitable for vitamin D supplements, and a sustained integration of educational resources for future staff, residents and their families.

It will be a busy 2016 with education sessions for the first group of sites well underway and the study due for completion mid 2017. This project has recently been presented at the Australian Association of Gerontology and the Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conferences and has two papers in the process of publication in academic journals.

Pippy Barnett; Activity 12 Project Officer