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ASLaRC Aged Services Unit

Colleen Cartwright
Prof. Colleen Cartwright

ASLaRC Aged Services Unit was a joint initiative of Southern Cross University and the University of New South Wales, Faculty of Medicine, Rural Clinical School, with links to the North Coast Institute of TAFE and the Coffs Harbour Senior College. It was originally called the Aged Services Learning and Research Collaboration and in its developmental stage was led by Professor Jim Curran, UNSW, who undertook some demographic research of ageing issues in the Mid-North Coast, including producing a report on the aged Care Workforce in the region.

Professor Cartwright was appointed Foundation Professor of ASLaRC at Southern Cross University in February 2005 and was based at the Coffs Harbour campus, although ASLaRC was a whole-of-University program, covering the region from Port Macquarie to the Queensland border. Her work encompassed ageing issues in areas as diverse as the challenges of an ageing population, affordable housing for older people, older workers and end-of-life issues.

Before coming to SCU, Professor Cartwright spent 20 years at the University of Queensland. During that time she undertook major studies around end-of-life decisions and from that work she designed the Advance Health Directive and Enduring Power of Attorney forms that are part of the Queensland Powers of Attorney Act (1998). After taking up the position with SCU she adapted the Qld Advance Directive to meet NSW legislative provisions.

Her work has included conducting information and training sessions for community and health professional groups on ethical and legal issues relating to care at the end of life, including pain relief as a human right, advance care planning, informed consent and capacity, issues for carers and the special challenges of caring for people with dementia.

Over her career Professor Cartwright developed extensive teaching and research experience in ageing, ethics and medical decisions at the end of life, at national and international levels, with publications in major journals and a number of book chapters. She is a member of the Australian Association of Gerontology.

In 2014 Professor Cartwright retired from Southern Cross University, and became the Principal Director of Cartwright Consulting Australia Pty Ltd.

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