At MePACS, we’re committed to ensuring seniors feel safe, supported and confident to live independently and prioritise their health.
Supported by Victorian public health network Peninsula Health, we’re lucky enough to work alongside health professionals who contribute their vital expertise to improve the health and well-being of older people in our community.
Through clinical practise and research, geriatrician and researcher Dr Chris Moran has multiple years of experience in assessing and understanding senior health.
“As geriatricians, we take an understanding of what’s important to older people and combine it with any relevant medical issues to develop an individualised plan for the older person. This plan often involves combining multiple medical specialists and requires a team of other experts such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers.
I enjoy providing support for the whole person that is not limited to one single aspect of their needs. I also enjoy working within a team with my allied health colleagues as I regularly learn new things that make me better in my role.”
Three hats for one geriatrician
Chris says he wears “three hats” in his role at Peninsula Health and enjoys the intellectual challenge of assessing and treating complex care needs.
“Firstly, I help support older people under the care of Peninsula Health. This may be caring for patients in a dedicated Acute Care of the Elderly unit if they have become medically unwell, or supporting the orthopaedic team with the complex health needs of an older person if they have broken a large bone such as their hip.
I also help support people after they have left hospital and need more time and allied health assistance to recover. Often, this work is helping people who are worried about their thinking and cognition…currently, we are doing a lot of this work via videoconferencing and telephone.
My third hat at Peninsula Health is as a coordinator of Advanced Training in Geriatric Medicine. This means I help support the training of junior doctors to become geriatricians.”
Providing patient-centred care with purpose and passion
The key to an effective conversation about our health is the balance of medical advice with the sharing of knowledge from patient to clinician.
With three different facets to his work, Chris greatly values the time to communicate with patients, peers and practitioners to develop a comprehensive approach to treatment.
“I enjoy working with older people. I think we are all natural storytellers and seniors have great stories to share about their lives.
Combining geriatric medicine with research also allows me to feel like I’m exercising different parts of my brain. My clinical work informs my research work and lets me understand how research can be used to benefit the people I treat.
As someone who enjoys being part of a team, it is great to work with the kinds of people who enjoy supporting older people today and those trying to improve health care for the future.”
And when it comes to safeguarding health and well-being as a senior, his advice rings true for any generation.
“I think the basics are very important but unfortunately very hard to maintain. Prevention remains the best advice, and staying physically active and socially engaged appears to be key to staying well.
A healthy diet, not smoking and minimising alcohol is prudent. How best to do this for each individual patient continues to be a challenge, including for this geriatrician!”
Improving senior healthcare through research and practise
As a researcher in geriatrics, Chris contributes valuable knowledge and expertise to our understanding of senior health and well-being – with particular interest in dementia, delirium and improving the care of older people in hospital.
“I am about to start a project focusing on local hospital systems and how we can reduce the risk of a person with dementia becoming very confused when they are admitted. We’ll be looking at how we can rapidly incorporate a person’s needs and preferences before they are admitted to hospital into our care plans.
Other projects I am working on aim to improve our hospital systems to suit the needs of older people better, including how to improve the medical care of those considering surgery as well as how we can reduce falls and pressure injuries in hospital.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly posed its challenges to providing essential health treatment, the dedication of health professionals like Chris ensures patient-centred care is always at the forefront.
“I think the COVID-19 pandemic has been very challenging for older people and healthcare providers. Many older people who I see, and those supporting them, have reported that physical distancing and relative isolation negatively affected mood and cognition.
We are still learning how best to provide support with physical distancing requirements.”