Dr Anna Rose

Dr Anna Rose


School of Health Sciences

Giving definition and structure to comfort

As an Occupational Therapist, Dr Anna Rose is used to solving problems. Which is why she focuses on how we define and measure comfort.

Anna Rose

An Occupational Therapist (OT) has a broad remit. Much like a GP they explore the whole person, rather than specialise in one area of health or the body – but unlike a GP, an OT brings the whole of a person’s surroundings into focus. “We look at both the physical and social environment,” Anna says. “And how that impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing.”

“As an OT you are continually faced with new challenges,” Anna says. “The health system is constantly challenged with new demands as people are living longer with more complex health conditions. As OTs, we tend to be creative people, and it’s this creativity that we bring to health care.”

Anna is passionate about bringing OT research into everyday research to bring the work into the allied health space. “We need to be measuring health outcomes and consider ‘what is the outcome that an OT contributes?’. This is where my current research is heading – looking at ‘comfort’ as an outcome of occupational therapy and where that sits with a mental health perspective.”

What is comfort?

“In my recent research, it’s clear there are physical aspects of comfort, but there’s also psychosocial aspects of comfort,” Anna says. “Because I’m a systems thinker, having an outcome of comfort might bring us more into the allied health space in terms of more preventative approaches to wellbeing.”

Comfort means exploring deeper into a person’s experience. “It’s not just about eliminating negative symptoms or focusing on the medical issues, but starting to think more about life-enriching experiences,” Anna says. “I think that’s where OT can have a big role in providing positive client outcomes.”

There has already been a lot of work around comfort, and it is seen as an outcome in other health areas. However, in OT, the word ‘wellbeing’ has tended to be preferred when considering client outcomes. “I’m currently working on a systematic review with a colleague at Colorado State University and we’re pulling together all the evidence that we can find about OT interventions that enhance client comfort,” Anna says.

“Nursing and medicine have already done a great deal of work in this space, so I’m trying to look at what OTs can bring to it. What is our intervention? How do we assess client comfort?”

Training the next generation

Anna’s workload is split between research, clinical and teaching – and she manages to bring a little bit of each to the other area. “I’m passionate about instilling life-long learning in my students, so I’m also passionate about problem-based learning,” Anna explains. “Our students are brought together to solve problems – and I do this by giving them a bit of systems thinking.”

“It’s about empowering students to understand the health system to effect positive change.”

Technology and OTs

Another of Anna’s projects involves exploring GPs and Telehealth. “The medical students I’m working with are exploring how GPs use telehealth: what are the barriers and how they currently link in with allied health services around chronic health management,” Anna says. “We’re doing a survey with GPs and asking them about how they link to other medical services as well.”

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a massive uptake in Telehealth appointments nationally, so Anna is keen to see how it has impacted its long-term implementation. “Thanks to technology, Telehealth has enabled access to healthcare, particularly for those in rural and remote regions,” Anna says.

“It will continue after COVID, but that’s very dependent on funding, so it’s important that there’s research to show the benefits of Telehealth. Because of COVID we’ve moved ahead five to ten years.”

“Technology and Telehealth gives us the power to educate, monitor and check in,” Anna adds. “It doesn’t work in every situation, but we need to know where it can have optimal impacts for clients and the health system.”

For people living with chronic diseases, Telehealth provides a solution to help them maintain independence while still offering the care and support they need. “Managing a chronic condition can be quite an exhausting thing for people to do over the long-term,” Anna says.

“Telehealth could be a valuable way to provide the additional care they need to ensure they have the skills and support required to monitor their signs and symptoms and seek care when they need it.”

Dying well

OTs also come to the fore in end-of-life care, enabling a positive experience for the patient, their family and carers. “Another aspect of comfort for end-of-life care can be going home to die,” Anna says. “Or it can be about ensuring that all your affairs are in order – that can bring a great deal of comfort to somebody.”

And this is where OTs come in. “I think OT has an excellent understanding of an untapped knowledge of the activities involved in dying,” Anna explains. “OTs can help people go home or stay at home to die by working with carers and health team members to determine the necessary supports.” This could involve modifying the home environment, or working out what kind of training may be required for a carer, so they can perform their caring role safely and effectively.”

Skills for life

Working with both physical skills and cognition is an OT’s greatest strength, but Anna admits it’s also a weakness. “We work in so many areas that sometimes people struggle to understand what we do.”

When we think of occupation we often think of our job, but that’s only one very small part of what an OT does. “It’s such a huge space and an often untapped skillset,” Anna says. “We’re providing skills for everyday living.”

“OTs give a practical level of support so people can live as independently as they wish,” Anna explains. “Often it’s about changing a task and simplifying it – so using tools such as jar openers to make life easier. We give people the tools, education and skills so they can learn new ways to do activities and maintain some level of confidence.”

“Practical support measures can make such a huge difference to people’s quality of life and their wellbeing.”

Anna Rose

Giving definition and structure to comfort

As an Occupational Therapist Dr Anna Rose is used to solving problems. Which is why she has a focus on how we define and measure comfort.

Read more

Career Summary


Dr Anna Rose is an Occupational Therapist who dedicates her teaching, clinical and research career to helping people live optimally – with comfort at the centre of all of her work. She works with patients, carers, clinicians and care workers to deliver optimal solutions to ensure that people live their life as well as possible. This includes end-of-life care where Anna strives to enable people to die-well and find the comfort they need at the end of their life.

Anna sees OT as a vital element of allied healthcare that includes the whole of a person’s surroundings and environment in the nature of care.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Sydney
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours), University of Newcastle


  • Comfort
  • Health Services Research
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Pressure Injury
  • Primary Health Care

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
420104 Occupational therapy 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
14/3/2016 - 14/1/2017 Researcher Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour (CHB)
Faculty of Health and Medicine


Code Course Role Duration
OCCT2151 Occupational Therapy and Everyday Living
Faculty of Health and Medicine Research- the University of Newcastle
Lecturer 1/2/2017 - 1/6/2021
OCCT4172 Researching and Developing an Occupational Therapy Program
The University of Newcastle
Tutor 28/2/2017 - 9/11/2017
MEDI16001 Research for Medical Professionals
Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle
Supervisor 2/1/2020 - 31/12/2021
OCCT1201 Introduction to Occuaptional Therapy Practice
The University of Newcastle
Course Coordinator 1/2/2017 - 1/6/2021
OCCT1110 Introduction to Occupational Therapy
The University of Newcastle
Course coordinator 1/2/2017 - 1/6/2021


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Freund M, Carey M, Dilworth S, Waller A, Mansfield E, Rose A, et al., 'Effectiveness of information and communications technology interventions for stroke survivors and their support people: a systematic review.', Disabil Rehabil, 1-16 (2021)
DOI 10.1080/09638288.2021.1913245
Co-authors Elise Mansfield, Mariko Carey, Amy Waller, Megan Freund, Renate Thienel
2020 Asher RC, Jakstas T, Wolfson JA, Rose AJ, Bucher T, Lavelle F, et al., 'Cook-EdTM: A Model for Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Cooking Programs to Improve Diet and Health.', Nutrients, 12 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/nu12072011
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5
Co-authors Clare Collins, Vanessa Shrewsbury, Kerith Duncanson, Tracy Burrows, Tamara Bucher
2012 Kennedy N, Barnes J, Rose A, Veitch C, 'Clinicians expectations and early experiences of a new comprehensive rehabilitation case management model in a specialist brain injury rehabilitation unit', Brain Impairment, 13 62-71 (2012)
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2011 Macens K, Rose A, Mackenzie L, 'Pressure care practice and occupational therapy: Findings of an exploratory study', Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58 346-354 (2011)
Citations Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8
2010 Rose A, MacKenzie L, ' Beyond the cushion : A study of occupational therapists perceptions of their role and clinical decisions in pressure care', Disability and Rehabilitation, 32 1099-1108 (2010)
Citations Scopus - 11Web of Science - 11
Show 2 more journal articles

Grants and Funding


Number of grants 4
Total funding $14,324

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20211 grants / $4,422

What e-support(s) are available to prevent pressure injury?$4,422

Funding body: School Health Science - Strategic Pilot Grant

Funding body School Health Science - Strategic Pilot Grant
Project Team

Dr Peta Tehan, Dr Elysa Roberts, Alexandra Hopson, Arif Kamil

Scheme School of Health Sciences Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2021
Funding Finish 2021
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20201 grants / $2,902

An evaluation of current practice in Pressure Injury management for older people and people in the community$2,902

Funding body: School of Health Sciences

Funding body School of Health Sciences
Project Team

Anna Rose, Arif Ahmed, Lynette Mackenzie

Scheme SHS Research Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2020
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20181 grants / $4,000

What interventions are used by occupational therapists to enhance client comfort?$4,000

A systematic review of interventions used by occupational therapists to enhance client comfort.

Funding body: School of Health Sciences Strategic Pilot Funding

Funding body School of Health Sciences Strategic Pilot Funding
Project Team

Dr Anna Rose, Professor Shelly Lane, Jacob Fellowes

Scheme School of Health Sciences Strategic Pilot Funding
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE

20171 grants / $3,000

Strategic Pilot Grant$3,000

Funding body: The University of Newcastle | Australia

Funding body The University of Newcastle | Australia
Project Team

Dr Sam Ashby, Dr Peta Tehan, Felicity Williams, Jayne Campbell.

Scheme School of Health Sciences Strategic Pilot Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Local
Category 2OPL

Research Supervision

Number of supervisions


Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2019 Masters Ensuring ‘Correct Fit’ and Sustainability of Assistive Technology for Clients Within a Rehabilitation Model of Care M Philosophy (Occupat Therapy), College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor

Past Supervision

Year Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2019 Honours Comfort: Occupational therapists' perceptions of assessment and intervention. Occupational Therapy, The Faculty of Health Science / The University of Newcastle / Australia Principal Supervisor
2018 Honours Making Sense of Eating Disorders: The Lived Experience Occupational Therapy, The Faculty of Health Science / The University of Newcastle / Australia Co-Supervisor

Dr Anna Rose


School of Health Sciences
College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing

Contact Details

Email anna.rose@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7881


Room HC60
Building Hunter Building
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308