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Maria Aurora Fenech

University of Malta/Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies

Maria Aurora Fenech

I graduated with a Diploma in Physiotherapy in 1989, and subsequently read for a Post-Graduate Diploma in Gerontology & Geriatrics (Melit.) from which I graduated in 1999.  In 2001, I graduated with a Master in Geriatrics and Gerontology (Melit.), having presented my dissertation entitled “Abuse within a Chronic Care Institutional Setting for Older Persons in Malta.”  In 2016, I graduated from the University of Nottingham with a PhD in Rehabilitation and Ageing.  In my PhD project, “Physical Restraint Use within Long Term Care Settings in Malta”, I studied physical restraint use and associated autonomy issues.

I have been working in the field of Geriatrics since 1992.  In 2001, I was assigned the task of setting up the Physiotherapy Services within residential care homes.  From 2010-2017, I occupied the post of Manager Allied Health Services within the Active Ageing and Community Care. I also performed duties related to quality assurance of care homes for the older persons with the local Social Care Standards Authority.

Currently I am a Senior Lecturer within the Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies, at the University of Malta.




Countries Malta;
Topics Attitudes and Expectations about Long-Term Care; Community-based LTC; Deinstitutionalisation; Dementia care and support; End-of-life care and LTC; Ethics and care; LTC and people with mental health conditions; LTC Policy; LTC Systems; LTC Workforce; New models of care; Outcome measurement in LTC; Person-centered care; Quality and accreditation for LTC services; Relationship between LTC use and hospital use; Research gaps and priorities in LTC; Residential LTC services; Rights and people’s voices in LTC systems; Social Innovation in LTC; Unpaid / informal care;
Methods Analysis of administrative data; Case studies; Knowledge-exchange; Mixed methods; Practice-based approaches; Qualitative studies; Quantitative data analysis; Questionnaire; Research ethics; Simulation models; Surveys;
Role Research;
Interest Groups Community-based approaches to dementia care; Long-Term Care Policy; Strengthening Responses to Dementia;
Other 1;
Research interests

Areas of research include, elder abuse, physical restraint, long-term care and social aspects of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, autonomy and rights related issues, aspects of rehabilitation, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary team work with the older person, creativity and ageing, spirituality and ageing.

Key publications


(1) Contributed to the quarterly issue of “L-Anzjan Illum”, (translated as ‘The older person today), through a series of articles about exercise entitled “L-Importanza ta’ l-Ezercizju Fiziku meta Nikbru”, (translated as ‘Exercise and the older person’). The first 2 articles namely “L-Importanza Ta’ L-Ezercizju Fiziku Meta Nikbru”, (translated as ‘Exercise and the older person) and “Ghaliex Irridu Noqoghdu Attenti Qabel Nibdew Programmi Ta’ Ezercizzju Fiziku”, (translated as ‘The importance of consulting your doctor prior to commencing exercise’) were published in the April-June 1996 and July-August 1996 Issues respectively. The third article “Ezercizji Hfief Li Nistghu Nibenefikaw Minnhom Minn Go Djarna” (translated as ‘Exercises that could be done at home’) was published in the September-December 1996 Issue.

(2)  Fenech, M. 2000, “An international conference in Malta. Ageing: A challenge for the new millennium”, Agility, no.  1, pp.

(3) Fenech, M. A. and Fiorini, A. 2003, “Abuse within a chronic care institutional setting for older persons in Malta”, Malta Medical Journal, 15: 50, 0-133. [Abstract, Oral presentation, Malta Medical School Conference]

(4) Fenech, M. A. and Grech, M.L. 2003, “Seating arrangements for older persons at St Vincent de Paul Residence”, Malta Medical Journal, 15: 50, 0-134. [Abstract, Oral presentation, Malta Medical School Conference]

(5) Fenech, M. A., Fiorini, A., Fiorentino, R., Lilley, J. and Ward, C.D. 2011, “Physical restraint use in the care of the older person”, Poster Presentation in the Research Show Case, University of Nottingham.

(6) Fenech, M. A. 2013, “Is society failing one of its greatest pillars?”, Sunday Times of Malta, May 26, 60.

(7) Fenech, M. A. 2013, “Definitions and categories of elder abuse”, MAPEA, Maltese Association for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, The Newsletter, 1, 5.

(8) Fenech, M.A. (2015) Elder Abuse in Population Ageing in Malta: Multidisciplinary perspectives. In Formosa, M. and Scerri, C. (Eds.) Elder Abuse pp. 345-365. Malta: University Press.

(9) Fenech, M.A. (2017) “Elder abuse and neglect”, Senior Times in the Sunday Times of Malta, November 2017.

(10) Fenech, M. A. (2018). Physical restraint use in care homes for older persons. In M. Formosa (Ed.), Active and healthy ageing in Malta (pp. 273-291). BDL Publishing.

(11) Fenech, M. A. (2015). Elder abuse. In M. Formosa & C. Scerri (Eds.), Population ageing in Malta: Multidisplinary perspectives (pp. 345-365). Malta University Press.

(12) Vella, P., Vella, A., Fenech, M. A., Avallone, I., Mangion, M., Cassar, M. G., Sciberras, M., and Martinelli, S. (2018), A Quality Grading Matrix for Care Homes for Older Persons, Poster Presentation in the 11th International Conference FINE, ‘Nursing and Nursing Education: From vision to action in a world in motion, Malta.

(13) Debono, T., and Fenech,M. A. (2019), The effects of animal assisted activity on the behaviour of older persons living with dementia within a Maltese long-term care facility, Poster Presentation in the 29th Alzheimer’s Europe Conference, ‘Making Valuable Connections’, The Hague, Netherlands.

(14) Fenech, M. A., Vella, M., & Calleja, N. (2020). COVID-19 outbreaks in the Islands of Malta and Gozo. International Long Term Care Policy Network. Online publication. and

(15) Simmons, C., Ilinca, S., Lucius A., & Fenech, M.A. (2022). Attitudes, experiences and expectations on long-term care in Malta, Policy Brief 2022/11. Vienna: European Centre.