Associate Professor Christopher Poulos has been appointed as the founding Chair of Positive Ageing and Care at the University of New South Wales.
Supported by funding from health and aged care provider HammondCare, the Chair is a pioneering scheme bringing together community, residential and sub-acute hospital care under a "one-stop shop". Its purpose is to develop specialist programs with a broad focus on health maintenance, restoration and care for older Australians, maximising their quality of life at home, and avoiding hospital admissions.
Associate Professor Poulos, a senior staff specialist in rehabilitation medicine, will commence in the position in mid-March.
Together with a multidisciplinary academic unit, Associate Professor Poulos will be based at a new Clinical Training Centre being built with funds from a $3.3 million federal government grant, at one of HammondCare's facilities in south-west Sydney. Clinical training placements also will be provided for more than 100 medical, nursing and allied health students.
Announcing the establishment of the Chair last year, HammondCare Chief Executive Dr Stephen Judd said that despite years of health policy debate, the integrated one-stop shop for continuity of healthcare and community support of the elderly did not yet exist, largely due to various types of care being funded by different tiers of government.
"Older people prefer to avoid hospital unless they have an acute illness, which also makes good economic sense. There is an opportunity to pioneer a new model of care that brings together community, residential and sub-acute hospital care into a single matrix," Dr Judd said.
Professor Peter Smith, Dean of UNSW Medicine, said the University was proud to form a partnership with HammondCare. "Under Associate Professor Poulos' leadership, the new unit will enhance teaching and training in this field and develop improved ways to deliver care to older Australians," Professor Smith said.
Associate Professor Poulos said he was eager to begin in the position: "What really excites me is the opportunity to develop new person-centred models of care. We need to focus on wellness, and on helping people maintain their independence, abilities and quality of life as they get older."
Professor Raina MacIntyre, Head of UNSW's School of Public Health and Community Medicine said: "Aged care has been a longstanding focus for the School, and we are delighted to have this opportunity to further build strength in this area, and look forward to working with Associate Professor Poulos and HammondCare to realise this vision."