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Research Biography

Research Institute / Centre environment – Theme (s) / Areas of Focus (foci)

Caring Futures Institute – Better Systems / Quality aged care

Position Title Professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Research biography

Professor Lily Xiao has teaching and research interests in the areas of caregiver support in dementia care, chronical disease management, cross-cultural dementia care, dementia education for health professionals and caregivers and other forms of dementia and workforce development in aged care. She has an established track record in cross-cultural care for older people and people with dementia. She has in-depth knowledge about the impact of increased cultural, linguistic and religious diversity of the consumers and the workforce on care models, communication and quality of care in aged care and dementia care. Methodologies she has applied to research projects include qualitative studies (phenomenological study, critical ethnography), quantitative studies (cross-sectional study, randomised controlled trial) and critical action research.

Lily is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing. Her significant contributions to aged care and dementia care have been recognised by the Chinese Society in China. She received a Fellowship at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in 2014 and was awarded Honorary Adviser by the Academy of Cognitive Disorder of China & Chinese Geriatrics Society in 2016.

She is also passionate about health equity in global health. She was selected to participate in the World Health Organization (WHO) Nursing and Midwife Scholar Programme in the WHO Headquarter in Geneva in 2015. She is a Key Contributor to the WHO iSupport program, a global online program for caregivers of people with dementia. She led the development of Human Resources for Health Observer No 22 entitled ‘Optimizing the contributions of the nursing and midwifery workforce to achieve universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals through education, research and practice'.

Research Interests

Recent research projects

  1. Lily Xiao, Julie Ratcliffe, Claudia Meyer, Michael Chapman, Langduo Chen, Shahid Ullah, Alison Kitson, Andre Andrade, 2021-2025, Creating partnership in iSupport program to optimise carers’ impact on dementia care, Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) 2020 Dementia Ageing and Aged Care Mission, $1,406,658 Aus.
  2. Lily Xiao, Julie Ratcliffe, Alison Kitson, Shahid Ullah, Claudia Meyer, Sue McKechnie, Craig Whitehead, Michael Chapman, 2021-2023. Implementing Australian iSupport to improve online dementia education and carer support, NHMRC/DCRC World Class Research Project Grans, $536,586 Aus.
  3. Lily Xiao, Julie Ratcliffe, Shahid Ullah, Henry Brodaty, Bianca Brijnath, Hui-Chen Chang, Huali Wang, Jing Wang, Chia-Chi Chang, Timothy Kwok and Mingxia Zhu, 2021-2022, Strengthening professional collaboration in dementia caregiver education and research via the provision and evaluation of the iSupport program in Australia and Greater China, National Foundation for Australia-China Relations 2020-2021 (NFACR216), $440,000 Aus.
  4. Nguyen T, Xiao L, Brodaty H, Brijnath B, Andrade A, Esterman A, Kurrle S, Crotty M, Schofield P, Bhar S, 2021-2023, 2020, DIVA: Dementia Carer (Development and evaluation of an iSupport virtual assistant app for dementia carers, NHMRC e-ASIA Joint Research Program Grant Scheme, GNT2001548, $1,857,363 Aus.

Research Impact

Professor Lily Xiao is internationally recognised in the dementia caregiving research field and is one of four key contributors to the WHO iSupport for Dementia, a global online program for carers of people with dementia. The program is being adapted and introduced into WHO member countries to support informal carers who care for more than 55 million people with dementia. She serves on the WHO Dementia Knowledge Exchange Committee to support the adaptation process. She also led the adaptation of iSupport program in Australia. She was selected by the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR) to showcase Australian excellence in dementia care in the project ‘Strengthening professional collaboration in dementia caregiver education and research via the provision and evaluation of the iSupport program in Australia and Greater China’.

Professor Xiao has led the development and evaluation of the world’s first evidence-based ‘Cross-cultural care program for aged care staff’ in a residential aged care setting. This program has led to significant change and advances in knowledge in the field of aged care workforce development. The program includes five interactive learning modules with dementia care and end of life care embedded, along with practical toolkit. Professor Xiao led the team to adopt the face-to-face program into an online program using MOOC to increase reach to aged care staff. So far, the online program has attracted 1600 learners. The program is promoted by the following aged care stakeholders, the Australian Government Department of Health, Care Search, Aged & Community Services Australia Workforce, Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, ELDAC, Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra and Resthaven.

Research Interest

Research areas:

Lily is particularly interested in:

  • Dementia care including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Health care for older people
  • Workforce development; Transcultural nursing
  • Comparative studies of the care of older people in Australia and China
  • Comparative studies of nursing education in Australia and China.

Methodologies used:

Qualitative research using hermeneutics, case studies and narratives; Quantitative studies using randomised controlled trial and questionnaire survey; Critical theory applied to action research.

Grant funding and Prizes and Awards

Prizes and Awards

2022 - 2026: Matthew Flinders Professor, Flinders University.

2019– present: Guest Professor, Xiangya School of Nursing, Central South University, China

2020 – present: Guest Professor, West China School of Nursing, Sichuan University, China

2013: Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Award-Research Category, the Government of South Australia.



Dementia, iSupport, healthcare for older people, transcultural nursing, aged care

Education/academic qualifications

2007: PhD, Flinders University.

2003: Master of Nursing, Flinders University.

1990: Post Registration Diploma, West China School of Nursing, Sichuan University, China.

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Dementia care (4)
  • Poststroke hospital to home transition care (2)
  • Hypertension management for older people (1)
  • Urinary incontinence management for older people (1)
Associate Supervisions:
  • Urinary and faecal incontinence for older people (2)
  • Nursing education (1)


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Nursing
  • Healthy ageing and aged care
  • Disability and community inclusion
  • Knowledge translation and implementation science

Supervisory Interests

  • Aged care
  • Dementia care
  • Chronic condition management and self-management
  • Cross-cultural health care
  • Gerontological nursing
  • Nursing workforce development


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