She loves the ‘whole-person approach’ that comes with care for the older person, and says the best part of her job has been “the privilege of talking with people (patients and whānau) on a deep level about their lives and their health.”
Kate has been instrumental in driving clinical development of the Community Health of Older People initiative (CHOPI). This initiative gives primary care services, such as GPs, faster access to specialist advice on care for our older people, meaning even those with complex health challenges can avoid further deterioration of their health, and live in their own homes for longer.
CHOPI team members, nurse practitioners Zaffer Malik and Diana Minnee were upskilled to support GPs by diagnosing and treating more frail people with deteriorating health, while Kate visits GP practices to discuss patient care face-to-face with staff.
The initiative is part of the work of the community Older Adults, Rehabilitation, Allied health (ORA) team, in which different professions collaborate on delivery of care, and expands on the existing ‘community health of older people’ model.
“This was an important experience in changing and improving the system - which led to me recognising that doing so will be my future,” says Kate.
Kate was one of two recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to the Medical Profession award at this year’s CCDHB Celebrating Success Awards. Her sharing of knowledge played an important part in CHOPI’s success, while her award nomination described her “sparking a contagious interest and passion in those around her.”
“I learn every time I try and teach or mentor,” she says. “It’s an investment in the future. It’s paying back (and forward) for all the mentoring and teaching I have received.”
Her vision for the future of care for the older person is “Helping people take charge of their own health. Helping them to understand – before they become really frail – that a person can improve their health and function and quality of life, at any age or stage.”