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Dr. Deirdre Connolly

Associate Professor (Occupational Therapy)

Dr. Connolly is an Associate Professor in the Discipline of Occupational Therapy. Her current research focuses primarily on designing and evaluating occupation-focused self-management interventions for individuals with chronic diseases in primary care settings. Her research in this area has led to the development of individual and group-based self-management interventions (OPTiMaL; FAME and FAME-W) for individuals with rheumatic diseases, cancer and multi-morbidity. A further strand of Dr. Connolly's research programme is focused on evaluating the impact of community-based health and well-being programmes on occupational participation of community dwelling older adults. Her educational research has investigated the impact of inquiry and problem-based learning on development of students' knowledge and skills in undergraduate education, and the impact of inter-professional learning on development of professional identity of health science students. Dr. Connolly has published and presented her research nationally and internationally. Dr. Connolly has teaching responsibilities across the Discipline's undergraduate and post-graduate curricula in Dublin and Singapore. She is currently Course Director of the Discipline's taught MSc in Occupational Therapy. She has supervised MSc and PhD students to completion.
  ACTIVITY PREFERENCES   AGE-RELATED IMPAIRMENT   Arts and health   Cancer Survivorship   Chronic Illness self-management   Continuing Professional Development   Education and Work   FALLS   Health attitudes and behaviour   Health outcomes   Higher Education   PARKINSON'S DISEASE   Primary care
 Examining the impact of Social Prescribing on health and Well-being of individuals with Chronic Diseases
 Examining the impact of a social prescribing service on health and well-being of individuals living with and beyond cancer
 The OPTIMAL study: A randomized controlled trial and process evaluation of an OccuPaTIonal therapy led self MAnagement support programme for patients with muLtimorbidity in primary care
 The impact of fatigue on workability of people with connective tissue disorders.
 OPTIMAL, a personalised self-management intervention for cancer survivors

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Details Date
Editorial Board Member:Annals of International Occupational Therapy 2017
Editorial Board Member: Occupational Therapy International 2009
Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland. 1996
Occupational Therapy Primary Care Advisory Group 2009
Facilitate: All Ireland network of Enquiry and Problem-Based Learning. 2008
AISHE: All Ireland Society of Higher Education 2007
Kiely B, Connolly D, Clyne B, Boland F, O'Donnell P, Shea EO, Smith SM, Primary care-based link workers providing social prescribing to improve health and social care outcomes for people with multimorbidity in socially deprived areas (the LinkMM trial): Pilot study for a pragmatic randomised controlled trial., Journal of Multimorbidity and Comorbidity, 11, 2021, p1 - 11, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL  Other
Bennett, A.E., O'Neill, L., Connolly, D., Guinan, E., Boland, L., Doyle, S., O'Sullivan, J., Reynolds, J.V., Hussey, J., Perspectives of Esophageal Cancer Survivors on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery., Cancers, 13, (1), 2021, p1-12 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Donnelly N, Delaney S, Donohue J, Boland L, Connolly D., EMPOWER, a self-management stress and anxiety group programme for community -based palliative care patients, Evolving Practice, Enabling Occupation, Enhancing Lives, Dublin, 8.10.21-9.10.2021, 2021, Oral Presentation, ACCEPTED
Rehabilitation Equipment in, editor(s)O'Hanlon S, Smith M. , A Comprehensive Guide to Rehabilitation of the Older Patient, 4th Edition, London, Elsevier, 2020, pp53 - 58, [Horgan F. Galvin R, Connolly D. Stapleton T.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Fitzpatrick C. O'Toole L. Doran M. O'Shea F, Connolly D., Factors associated with meeting work demands for individuals with Rheumatic Diseases, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, Frankfurt, Germany, June 3-6, 79, 2020, pp166 - 166, Conference Paper, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
O'Toole L, Connolly D, Boland F, Doyle S., Enhancing self-management of multimorbidity in primary care: A randomised controlled trial, British Journal of General Practce, 2020, p1 - 26, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
O'NEILL L., GUINAN E., DOYLE S., CONNOLLY D., O'SULLIVAN J., BENNETT A., SHEILL G., SEGURADO R., KNAPP P., FAIRMAN C., NORMAND C., GEOGHEGAN J., CONLON K., REYNOLDS JV., HUSSEY J., Rehabilitation strategies following oesophagogastric and hepatopancreaticobiliary cancer (ReStOre II): a protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMC Cancer, 20, 2020, p1 - 20, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Kiely B, Croke A, O'Shea E, Connolly D, Smith S., Effectiveness of link workers providing social prescribing on health outcomes and costs for adult patients in primary care and community settings. A protocol for a systematic review of the literature, HRB Open Research, 2, (21), 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL
Kiely B, Croke A, O'Shea E, Connolly D, Smith SM., Effectiveness of link workers providing socia l prescribing on health outcomes and costs for adult patient s in primary care and community settings. A protocol for a systematic review of the literature, HRB Open Research, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
O'Neill L., Guinan E., Doyle S., O'Connor L., Sheill G., Smyth E., Fairman C., Segurado R., Connolly D., O'Sullivan J., Reynolds JV., Hussey J, ReStOre@Home: Feasibility study of a virtually delivered 12-week multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme for survivors of upper gastrointestinal (UGI) cancer - study protocol, HRB Open Research, 2020, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI

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Connolly D, Irish Association for Cancer Research Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 24-26 March, 2021, Irish Association for Cancer Research, Invited Talk, PRESENTED
Connolly D., Optmising physical and psychological health during and after cancer treatment, Oesophageal Cancer Fund Patient Education day, Dublin, Ireland, 6.10.2018, 2018, Oesophageal Cancer Fund, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Connolly D., Managing physical and psychological health during and after cancer treatment, OVARIAN CANCER PATIENT DAY , Ireland, 26th May, 2018, OvaCare, Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Connolly D, O'Toole L, Boland L, Cooney C, , Impact of Well-Dance on physical and mental health of older adults in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown borough, 2016, p1 - 15, Report, PRODUCED
Connolly D., Troy M., Mannion L., Reilly E., Ryder R., Review of the Rialto Community Health Project, Dublin, 2013, 40, Notes: [The Dolphin and Fatima Community Health Projects were established in 2003, as part of the Social Regeneration Plan (Whyte, 2005) with support from the HSE Health Promotion Department and Combat Poverty Agency 'Building Healthy Communities' programme. The health projects aim to 'tackle the high rates of ill-health within the Fatima Mansions and Dolphin House estates and improve the holistic wellbeing and spirit of the community'. This project align with core goals of the Healthy Ireland National Strategy to improve health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities.], Report, COMPLETED


Award Date
Provost Teaching Excellence Award 2009
As occupational therapy focuses on how chronic diseases interfere with people's abilities to perform everyday activities, Dr Connolly's research programme is focused on developing and testing the impact of primary care-based occupational therapy interventions for people with single chronic conditions and multimorbidity. To this end, she has developed OPTIMAL, a self-management, group-based intervention aimed at increasing activity participation for people with physical and mental health-related chronic conditions. OPTIMAL, has been tested in different healthcare contexts using different methodologies, including RCT, and has shown significant changes in activity participation and symptoms of illness burden including quality of life and depression. She is now evaluating OPTIMAL for cancer survivors using an RCT design. This research is carried in an inter-institutional, cross-disciplinary capacity with national and international collaborators. Dr Connolly has also designed, delivered and evaluated FAME (Fatigue and Activity Management), a six-week programme for people with chronic inflammatory/autoimmune diseases who experience significant fatigue. FAME has been delivered and evaluated with people with rheumatic diseases with positive outcomes. Dr. Connolly's research on self-management for chronic diseases and multimorbidity is internationally relevant and highly sustainable given the rising ageing demographic and the increasing incidence of chronic disease and multimorbidity globally. Developing evidence-based interventions for chronic diseases and multimorbidity is a priority for all health services. She has presented her research at occupational therapy-specific, multidisciplinary, national and international conferences, including invited key note addresses. She supervises PhD and MSc students.