Dr. Jenny Abbey is now retired after over 4 decades in the Aged Care Industry. In the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours she was awarded an AM for her work with pain and people in aged care.
Jenny is a Registered Nurse, has a Bachelor of Education in Nursing, from the University of England, and a PhD from Deakin University.
She was Australia’s first Professor of Nursing (Aged Care) holding a joint appointment between Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH). She was Foundation Director of one of the three National Dementia Collaborative Research Centres established under the Australian Government’s National Dementia Initiative from 2006 to 2008. The Dementia Collaborative Research Centres (DCRC) were established in 2006 under the Government’s Dementia Initiative, funded by the Department of Health and Ageing. The three centres ('hubs') based at UNSW, ANU and QUT had many collaborative partners around Australia. Some of the latest research grants / commissioned projects Jenny worked on were: “Implementation of sustainable evidence-based practice for the assessment and management of pain in aged care residential facilities” * and “Understanding dementia in urban, rural and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland”.
She is the author of the Abbey Pain Scale, the pain scale which was the most widely used in Australian Residential Care facilities to assess pain for people with dementia who are unable to verbalise their needs in a meaningful way. However, most of her research work has been in the field of the palliative care needs of people with dementia. Jenny sat on the National Ministerial Dementia Advisory Committee, the South Australian Guardianship Board, and now consults to the aged care industry. She has a passion for continuous improvement in pain assessment. She sees PainChek as an evolutionary development of her past work, incorporating new technologies including smart devices and artificial intelligence that further improves the pain assessment process. According to her, there are many people who still do not have their pain assessed effectively. Dr Abbey and PainChek's common goal is to ensure that any person, most especially the aged and those with dementia, do not suffer unnecessary pain.