Helga Merl

UTAS Home Ms Helga Merl

Helga Merl

Lecturer and PhD Candidate
Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre

Room Office N128 , Newnham Campus

0447 830 664 (phone)

Helga Merl is a Lecturer Dementia and Endorsed Nurse Practitioner Aged/Dementia Care at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre. Helga’s interests include early and timely diagnosis, Memory Wellness Programs, Palliative Dementia Care and enabling environments for people living with dementia.


Before joining the University of Tasmania, Helga developed and convened the Master Nurse Practitioner Program for the school of Nursing and the Associate Degree Integrated Care in Ageing for the School of Health Sciences at the University of Newcastle (Aus). Prior to that Helga has held senior management and leadership roles in Aged and Dementia Care including, most recently, the National Clinical Services manager for Integrated Living Australia and the Dementia Care Lead for UnitingCare Ageing NSW/ACT.

Career summary


Career qualifications

Australian Institution

Date of award

PhD Medicine (Dementia)

University of Newcastle


Understanding Dementia MOOC

University of Tasmania


Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)

University of Newcastle


Master of Health Science – Aged Care Services Management

Victoria University


Accelerated Implementation Methodology

Hunter New England Health


Living With Memory Loss facilitators course

Alzheimer’s Australia NSW


Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

TAA BSZ - ET Australia


Diploma in Front Line management

Central Coast Health


Advanced Supervision

New Fangled Ideas


Emotional and spiritual competencies for managers

Northern Sydney Central Coast Health


Graduate Certificate in Aged Care

University of Newcastle


Action Research course

Southern Cross University


Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care

Australian College of Nursing


Dementia Care Learning Program Certificate

HACC Training Project


Wound Management Certificate

Victorian Nurse Education Service


Bachelor of Nursing

University of Newcastle



Professional practice

  • Australian College of Nurse Practitioners
  • Australian Association of Gerontology
  • Hunter Dementia Alliance

Administrative expertise

  • Managing Large Projects
  • Managing Large Clinical Services
  • Developing and Coordinating Courses at Post graduate and Undergraduate Level e.g. Master Nurse Practitioner and Associate Degree in Integrated Care in Ageing
  • Developing and Coordinating Units at Post graduate and Undergraduate Level.


Aged Care Dementia Care Palliative Dementia Care Advance Care Planning Nurse Led Memory Clinics Dementia / Memory Wellness Programs

Teaching expertise

Course Coordinator Master Nurse Practitioner; Master Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Associate Degree Integrated Care in Ageing

Unit Coordinator

NURS6621 Clinical Practice A (Nurse Practitioner)

NURS6622 Clinical Practice B (Nurse Practitioner)

NURS6620 Biophysical Processes and Health Assessment; Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)

AGED1001 Healthcare and older People(S1 2018 ONLINE_CAL)

AGED1002 Principles and Delivery of Consumer-Centred Care(S2 2018ONLINE_CAL)

AGED2002 The Ageing Journey1 (S1 2018 ONLINE_CAL)

MEDI6801 Primary Health Care(S2 2018WEBLEARN) (Nurse Practitioner and Master of Clinical Leadership)

MEDI6802 Contemporary Issues in Chronic Disease Management (S2 2018WEBLEARN)

CAD501 Health and Social Support in Dementia 1

Teaching responsibility

CAD501 Health and Social Support in Dementia 1 Core Unit Master of Dementia and

View more on Mrs Helga Jenkins in WARP


  • Nurse Led Memory Clinics
  • Memory Wellness Programs
  • Early and Timely Diagnosis of Dementia
  • Enabling Environment for People Living with Dementia
  • Palliative Dementia Care

Research Themes

Helga’s research aligns to the University’s research theme of Better Health and the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre focus areas of both Dementia Care and Prevention.

Modifiable risk factors for dementia include those chronic condition risk factors such as low levels of exercise; poor nutrition; smoking tobacco; alcohol overuse; overweight and obesity; high or low blood pressure; raised blood glucose and serum cholesterol levels, being a smoker; the presence of other chronic conditions such as diabetes or depression or having low levels of social participation. Lifestyle change and engaging in healthy behaviours improves health status at any age. It is never too late to start.

Helga’s research interests include the early and timely diagnosis and management of dementia via programs focused on translating brain health and dementia prevention knowledge into programs that can be delivered for the purpose of testing improvements in the quality of life and cognition for older people at risk of or diagnosed with dementia.


2017 Commonwealth Department of Health (DOH) Better Practice Awards x 2 – Memory wellness program and Clinical Governance program – Sept 17

2017 Best Innovation of the Year Finalist Asia Pacific Aged are Awards – April 17; Wellness for Independence (chronic condition management Framework)

2016 Better Practice Awards x 2 – Tele-monitoring Staying Strong program and Staying Connected iPad program

2016 Best Dementia Program Finalist Asia Pacific Aged Care Awards – April 16; Memory Wellness Program

2013 International Mental Health award for “The Long Look Back” Narrative Therapy partnership with UCA.

2013 Mental Health Services Achievement Award: “Author at Any Age” partnership with UCA

2011 Better Practice Award, DoHA – Therapeutic Environment partnership with UCA

2010 PLACS award (Positive Living in Aged Care – ACA & NSW DoH ) Intergenerational Programs improving Quality of Life for People with Dementia in Residential Care. Partnership with UCA

Fields of Research

  • Geriatrics and gerontology (320210)
  • Acute care (420501)
  • Aged care nursing (420502)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding knowledge in the health sciences (280112)


Edwards, C., McDonnell, C., & Merl. H. (2012). “An evaluation of a therapeutic garden’s influence on the quality of life of aged care residents with dementia”, Dementia, Feb.

Co-Author: NSW Department of Health Delirium Guidelines, 2008, (ISBN 1 74139 008 5)

Merl, H. 2006 'End Stage Dementia and Palliative Care; Rocky road or tranquil passage', The Australian Journal of Community Nursing, Vol, 11, No. 1, April.

Total publications


Journal Article

(4 outputs)
2022Karacsony S, Merl H, O'Brien J, Maxwell H, Andrews S, et al., 'What are the clinical and social outcomes of integrated care for older people? A qualitative systematic review', International Journal of Integrated Care, 22, (3) Article 14. ISSN 1568-4156 (2022) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5334/ijic.6469 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Karacsony S; O'Brien J; Maxwell H; Andrews S; Greenwood M; Rouhi M; McCann D; Stirling C


2022Merl H, Doherty KV, Alty J, Salmon K, 'Truth, hope and the disclosure of a dementia diagnosis: a scoping review of the ethical considerations from the perspective of the person, carer and clinician', Dementia, 21, (3) pp. 1050-1068. ISSN 1471-3012 (2022) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1177/14713012211067882 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Doherty KV; Alty J; Salmon K


2021Adebusoye LA, Arinola G, Amaefula G, Hunter S, Merl H, et al., 'Comparison of the Rowland University dementia assessment scale and mini-mental state examination cognitive screening tools among older people in Nigeria', Medical Journal of Zambia, 48, (4) ISSN 0047-651X (2021) [Refereed Article]

[eCite] [Details]


2021Pond D, Higgins I, Mate K, Merl H, Mills D, et al., 'Mobile memory clinic: implementing a nurse practitioner-led, collaborative dementia model of care within general practice', Australian Journal of Primary Health, 27 pp. 6-12. ISSN 1448-7527 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/PY20118 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
2021Merl H, 'Promoting Healthy Ageing', Gerontological Nursing: A Holistic Approach to the Care of Older People, Elsevier Australia, C Vafeas and S Slatyer (ed), Australia, pp. 33-44. ISBN 9780729543675 (2021) [Other Book Chapter]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding


2017 Short Term Restorative Care community program Far North Queensland x 12 packages $ 520,00 recurrently

2017 CHSP expansion funds – Low vision wellness in 3 states and NT = $1,100,000 recurrently

2015 & 16 Primary Health tender for Far North NSW PHN $170,000; My Tele Medic for Hobart Health $350,000 recurrent unlimited

2012 Successful 3 ACARs rounds UnitingCare Ageing & most recent integratedliving Australia

2010 Merl, H Hunter Collaborative Palliative Dementia Care Framework. Round 5 Palliative Care Grants. DoHA $655, 000

2009 McDonnell, C. & Merl, H Therapeutic Garden – UnitingCare Ageing $50, 000

2004 Merl, H The Central Coast Dementia Planning and Service Development project. $75,000

2002 Merl, H Metropolitan Primary Dementia Care Network, NSW DoH grant. $150, 000


2016   Merl, H. Carer Mental Health wellness program $120 000. NSW DSS

2015   Merl, H. Mental Health program; Dementia/Memory Wellness and Foot wellness $840 000 Qld and NSW DSS

2008   Merl, H. Review of Central Coast Dementia Planning DADHC $ 10, 000

2007   Merl, H. Primary Care Dementia Advisory Service/Memory Clinics. DADHC $ 110, 000 recurrently


2004 Merl, H. & Bauer, L.  Development of a Legal Issues Educational Package for GPs, NSW DoH.  $ 55, 000

2002 Merl, H. Development of a Dementia Diagnosis and Management educational package for GPs, DADHC. $ 45, 000

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



The design and development of a guide for medical health practitioners to facilitate the discussion and diagnosis of dementia within Tasmanian minority ethnic communities (2022)$5,000
Donation in support of Sunny Jang's research
Donation via University of Tasmania Foundation ($5,000)
Donation - Individual
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Jang SH; Kuruvilla M; Nguyen HB; Jenkins HM; Salmon K; Hamrah MS; Koirala Y
Laughter ISLAND: Using comedy to promote brain health and dementia risk reduction behaviours (2022)$5,000
Donation record
Donation via University of Tasmania Foundation ($5,000)
Donation - Individual
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Canty A; Kuruvilla M; Jenkins HM

Helga is currently supervising 1 PhD candidate.