Show me:
Show me:
Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Q&A with Dr Caleb Ferguson

An education program to promote self-care for people living with atrial fibrillation (INFORM-AF)

Dr Caleb Ferguson is a Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Western Sydney Nursing & Midwifery Research Centre.  He holds a joint appointment at Western Sydney University and Western Sydney Local Health District. Dr Ferguson is a registered nurse with over 10 years’ clinical experience caring for people with stroke and other neurological and cardiovascular conditions.

Dr Caleb Ferguson’s research focuses on patient-centred approaches to the management of atrial fibrillation, stroke prevention and digital health.

What are you currently researching?

My Heart Foundation fellowship identifies the educational and self-management needs of people living with atrial fibrillation (the most common heart rhythm disorder). We partner with people living with atrial fibrillation clinicians and key stakeholders to co-design and co-produce a mobile health education program. The program aims to inform people about their condition and how to manage it. The education program will involve interactive case studies and questions and be delivered to people via smart-phones. This program will be trialled and evaluated in Western Sydney.

What difference will your research make to people’s cardiovascular health in Australia?

It's hoped that our research will enhance people’s knowledge of atrial fibrillation, including the risk reduction strategies and the treatment options that are available. It’s hoped that in the long term, this will improve a person’s quality of life, help them to manage their condition, and keep them out of hospital.

What motivated you to do your research?

I have worked clinically as a registered nurse for over 10 years with people who come into hospital with stroke. Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor for having a stroke. I often witnessed first-hand, the life-changing and devastating impacts of stroke. Yet, many of these atrial fibrillation-related strokes are highly preventable. I see the problem as threefold:

1) better screening and detection of atrial fibrillation
2) improving treatment with medicines and lifestyle interventions 
3) interventions that support self-management over a person’s life.  

My doctoral research focused on:

  • Improving how anticoagulation medicines (medicines which prevent blood clots) are prescribed

  • How to encourage people to keep taking their medicines.

  • The better atrial fibrillation is managed, the less people will experience stroke and other life-changing consequences of the condition.

Are there any achievements or discoveries from your research you can share with us?

Over the last 12 months, I've been elected a Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology and a Fellow of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. I was also appointed as the Cardiovascular Nursing Editor of Heart, Lung & Circulation (a journal that publishes cardiovascular disease research); it is a real privilege to serve in this role.

I was thrilled to receive a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant, which is a five year grant (2021-2026) This grant will extend my current Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship program of research and will enable me to further evaluate the INFORM-AF intervention, and how the findings can be put into practice.

I am currently wrapping up a research project that examines the design and application of wearable heart monitoring technologies in practice. This work highlights the pitfalls in design from people and clinicians’ perspectives. It reinforces the need to partner with people who are likely to use the technology when designing devices, to ensure they are useful and practical in everyday life.

Do you have a message for Heart Foundation supporters?

Thank you for your generous donations and support. Since my Heart Foundation award, I have been partnering with people and clinicians in the co-design of a new educational and self-management program for atrial fibrillation. I've also been successful in securing five years’ future funding from the NHMRC to build and strengthen this research and to enable robust evaluation and the ability to put the findings into practice. I appreciate your support and commitment to cardiovascular nursing research in Australia. Together we can make a positive impact to improve the quality of life for people living with atrial fibrillation and to help fight the devastating consequences of stroke.

Health Professional Tools

Health Professional Tools

Health Professional Tools

Guidelines, publications and support for the health professional community....

Heart Week 2022

Heart Week 2022

Heart Week 2022

With one Australian having a heart attack or stroke every 4 minutes, you have the power to change this statistic. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

Time to book a Heart Health Check?

If you're 45 and over, or 30 and over if you're of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you should book your Heart Health Check today...

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

Together, we can change the future of heart disease

The power of your ongoing support can help save lives and keep more families together. Help us continue to fund promising heart research projects by donating today. ...

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Q&A with Professor Levon Khachigian

Q&A with Professor Levon Khachigian

Q&A with Professor Levon Khachigian

Developing a new medicine for inflammatory cardiovascular disease...

My Heart, My Life program and support resources

My Heart, My Life program and support resources

My Heart, My Life program and support resources

Learn how the Heart Foundation can support you and your loved ones. ...

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Not all dairy products are equal. Discover different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health....

Q&A with Dr Thanh Nho Do

Q&A with Dr Thanh Nho Do

Q&A with Dr Thanh Nho Do

Developing a new soft robotic heart device to help people with heart failure awaiting a heart transplant ...

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Italian fish parcels

Italian fish parcels

Italian fish parcels

20 minutes
Serves 4

For professionals: Cardiovascular disease risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

For professionals: Cardiovascular disease risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 

Recommendations for assessing Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ...

Dessert recipes

Dessert recipes

Dessert recipes

Find heart healthy dessert recipes....

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Relationships and sex after a heart attack

Explore some useful things to know about intimacy after a heart attack....

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

3 Minute Research Competition Terms & Conditions

3 Minute Research Competition Terms & Conditions

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Identifying microvascular dysfunction as a novel mechanism of poor health in heart failure patients....

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Feelings and emotions after a heart attack

Feelings and emotions after a heart attack

Feelings and emotions after a heart attack

This is a guide to how you might be feeling after a heart attack. ...

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Learn more about Heart Foundation Walking and find your local walking group....

Improving heart health for people living with and beyond cancer

Improving heart health for people living with and beyond cancer

Associate Professor Aaron Sverdlov, Institution: The University of Newcastle...

Heart Matters

Heart Matters

Heart Matters

A community-based project delivering heart health education in Victorian communities at high risk of heart attack...

For professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples identification training

For professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples identification training

Asking the Question of Origin course helps with identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, in line with standard practice.  ...

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

Wholegrains and heart health

All you need to know about wholegrains to put you on the right track...

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...