Claudia is Honorary Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Gerontological Nursing (CGN), School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (SN, PolyU). She joined the SN, PolyU, in 1996, and became a full professor in 2010. She retired on December 31st, 2016, and has taken up a short-term appointment at the University of Tokyo, Japan, as a Project Professor in early 2017. She has practiced nursing in Hong Kong, Canada, and England, and has worked briefly as a volunteer nurse in India.
Expertise in Teaching
She teaches mainly courses related to human ageing and the care of older people. During her time at the PolyU, she has served in various leadership capacities in teaching, included the roles of, for instance, committee chair, clinical coordinator, and program leader. Other than serving at the school level, she has also served in other committee roles at the faculty and university level. She creates learning experiences for her students/mentees to be developed on multiple dimensions such as internship in esteemed facilities related to students’ own area of interest. Her other accomplishments include helping colleagues to develop a specialty laboratory in Gerontological nursing.
She established the Health and Cognitive Assessment Service in 2009, an advanced practice nurse-led clinic, which is an integral part of the Integrated Health Clinic of the SN. She integrates practice into the education and training of her doctoral students. Her aspiration is to complete the research-education-practice cycle to realize her philosophy in education.
Research and Scholarship
Claudia has two main programs of research. First, the care of people with dementia (PWD) and their families, with a special focus on cognitive assessment and cognitive health, and on non-pharmacological interventions to mitigate behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia and to promote the wellbeing of PWD and their families. Second, and more recently, she and her team have developed a research program on the frailty syndrome, a key area of research given the exponential increase in aging populations around the globe. Her frailty program consists of a longitudinal study to investigate factors predicting frailty, as well as cross-sectional studies that examine assessments and interventions of the frailty syndrome. Her team specializes in the management of pressure injuries, pain, and fatigue in frail older people.
She focuses on intervention and implementation research, aiming to make an impact on the health and wellbeing of humankind through driving translational research in practice. Wanting to change the culture of care in practice settings, Prof. Lai and her team employ participatory action approaches in research to engage management and frontline staff in innovations, and to nurture the internalization of new values and attitudes in caring for older people and their families.
She has published books, book chapters, and journal papers, both locally and internationally. She has won a number of awards for her work on dementia care and health promotion. She has also won awards in other aspects of her work over the years. The most recent of which (June 2017) is a Merit Award – Distinguished Knowledge Transfer Excellence Award: Community Excellence – from the PolyU. This award is only given once every 5 years.
Global Networking and Leadership
In the early 2000s, she led SN colleagues to form the Ageing and Health Research Group, which became the Centre for Gerontological Nursing (CGN) in 2012. In the same year, CGN has become a member of the Global Ageing Research Network (GARN) of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG). She continued to drive research development and international collaboration, and the CGN became a member of the National Hartford Centers in Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE), the United States of America, in 2014. She encourages and has paved the way for her students and colleagues to become scholars and leaders. She facilitated a CGN member in securing an international “Innovation Award” from the NHCGNE in 2015.
She is one of the Founding Members of the Institute of Active Ageing (IAA), hosted by the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences (FHSS), PolyU, and established in 2010. IAA pools scholars, researchers and practitioners from 23 disciplines across PolyU in the broad categories of health and human services, finance and business, policy and management, design, engineering and technology, environmental sciences and biotechnology, textiles and clothing, and leisure and recreation to create synergistic opportunities for cutting-edge research on ageing, as well as interdisciplinary educational programs in gerontology.
She has sat on the boards of international associations. She was inducted as a member of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) since 1994, and has actively participated in various international task force groups. She was elected as the STTI’s first Regional Coordinator for the Asia Region for two terms (2011-2015). She spearheaded the organization of international events to establish connections with the academic community to advance the field of nursing and to enhance interprofessional collaboration. She has been inducted to the American Academy of Nursing as a fellow in 2015.
Community Service and Development
Locally in Hong Kong, Claudia has fostered close collaborative relationships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and charitable foundations, driving research programs forward through continuous funding support from various institutes and agencies. She has volunteered in various capacity at the Hong Kong Alzheimer’s Disease Association for two decades. She is dedicated to the care of older people and serves as an honorary nursing advisor and consultant to many non-governmental organizations and voluntary service groups in Hong Kong.