Guest: Dr. Drew Dwyer
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Drew has earned a reputation for being one of the most dynamic and passionate consultants in learning and development for the aged and community care sectors. He has over 25 years of experience as a professional nurse, nurse leader and educator, and is currently the Principal Consultant in Gerontology, Disabilities and Community Services for the Frontline Care Solutions group and the Australasian College of Care Leadership & Management. He also holds an Adjunct Associate Professor position at the University of Queensland School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work (UQSoNMSW).
Drew draws on experience from both his extensive nursing and military leadership backgrounds to inform and shape his style. He has a particular interest in the development of clinical leadership and the mentoring of multidisciplinary health care teams and working with the implementation of the Clinical Sciences in Evidence-Based Healthcare.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we are joined by Dr. Drew Dwyer. Drew is a qualified trainer and assessor in several areas of health care from Clinical Leadership, Management and Administration. He is a Clinical Fellow of the JBI and values the philosophies behind science translation, utilisation and implementation. His speciality is in nursing gerontology focusing on utilising the study of the ageing process and its impact on the individual and society.
He makes sure that all he has to give is on the table for health professionals to absorb and take away to implement into their practice. The world of Evidence Based Sciences is amazing and not every clinician gets the time to understand or study it. He loves being the ‘steward’ of information that can be difficult to interperate and translate to practice for clinicians who are focused on service delivery.
Health Professional Radio – Clinical Care & Service Delivery in Modern Care Settings
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and my guest today is Dr. Drew Dwyer. Drew joins us from Australia where he’s a Speaker, Educator, Motivator, Consultant and Gerontologist. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Drew.
Drew Dwyer: Yeah, good afternoon Wayne. How are you?
W: I’m very well and I should say to use your professional name, it’s Dr. Drew. So welcome to Health Professional Radio and do tell us what it is you do.
D: Well I’m a Consultant Gerontologist and my background is in Nursing and I’m a Nurse with a few Master’s Degrees and a PhD but most of my academic work I do through the Joanna Briggs Institute in the Adelaide University in Australia. So my field of specialty is multi-disciplinary health care work specifically around aging, aged care community services and I look at the evidence based science and I apply it into multi-disciplinary health care works. So many hands touching one heart but it requires teamwork and leadership and it requires quite a bit of specialty wrapped around it.
W: Now, it’s an up and coming topic, Gerontology – what do you see happening currently in the field?
D: Well I mean I take the work and if you understand Gerontology as a science, it is the science of aging but as a clinical science it’s very much multi-disciplinary. So we have Nursing Gerontologists like myself, we have Physio Gerontologists, we clinical ones, and we have academic one that it purely looks at this side of the academic world that is of literature. I’m a Clinical Gerontologist, so I work out in the field and I gained a lot of my knowledge over the years from working in places like Canada, the UK and America where Gerontology or Geriatric Nursing is a specialty. It’s considered as specialty and they’ve been dealing with their aging population to say a little bit longer than Australia has, we’re just entering the start of our aging population and I have no doubt that the Gerontological Nurse or Geriatric Nurse, Specialists, Gerontic Nurse Specialist will become the new specialized health care profession.
W: Now it’s certainly from a business model a very hot topic amongst investors and business journalists around the place. Has there been a complimentary change in the clinical side of things?
D: There seems to be quite a bit of confusion still wrapped around this. The fact is for a long time now people have being seeing the course over moving the medical model from care because it is too medical model orientated and everyone being pushing very greatly towards a social model of care and management which is not too bad as a philosophy and the composite when you would consider the action as being probably and primarily used because the baby boomer cohort is about to come on to the planet in large numbers and these of course people aged between 52 and 72 currently and probably in the next 20 years or ten years minimum they’ll start transitioning to over time and trying to manage their health so it is living longer and living better but what we are neglecting is we are experiencing a boom models people entering the aged care community service environment and these are our older cohorts. This are the great and Silent generation which are the parents of the boomers. Now they specifically need a more focused medical model because unfortunately they have not lived in their zone of having the same health care practices that the baby boomers have invented and created and brought to the community. So the older generation still suffers heavily with co-morbidity, with complex health disease and they haven’t lived exactly healthy active aging lives. There’s been traditionally the stoic savers put away for the legacy of the family and say for the rainy day and it quite frugal in their way of living. Right now those people are transitioning into end of life palliation, death and dying and these are tough subjects to discuss. Many health professionals are reluctant and resilient to discuss them in detail and it takes quite a bit of specific training to do so. So what we do is we’re dancing around among the healthy aging and active aging quality aging. Social model context but the reality is clinicians and people on the frontline of care are dealing with co-morbidity, complex health care, more disability, more frailty and the language is clouding the direction should take with our health care on these people. So I think we’re getting confused a bit where we’re hoping to build this beautiful social models for the boomers but we are neglecting the fact that many of the elderly now are in need of quite complex and high health care and we’re ignoring some of those factors.
W: And the boomers are not going to move into aged care gently, I don’t think.
D: No, they going with much resistance. You see the boomers are quite active, they want to work, they want to live, they want to be sexual, they want to be engaging, they want to be who they are. I think people need to be reminded that the boomers were the sexual revolution in the world. They were the change managers, they organize change, they brought the mold. I often have discussions with my adult children and teenage children about how boomers and they want to pull up confuse in I.T. and I have…and I remind them we invented it. Boomers invented the market, they invented computers and I.T., they invented big brands, they invented the things that of the younger generation now lives for and the boomers in their right minds are…to be healthier than everybody else. So they’re trying to plan a bit of a longer retirement span where they sort of semi-retire, semi-engaged and for them it comes with transition, many of them are divorced, remarried or un-remarried, are looking for lifestyle companion and still remained connected to their communities but the industry itself as the community sees, still sees them ages as old and we’ve got to change that mindset and I think the best way to change that mindset is to speak about it, talk about it and educate people about it.
W: Well with a little bit of luck we can help with some of that today amongst our audience. So Drew we get a mainly clinical audience, what’s the message that you’d like clinicians to take away as a result of hearing you today because 95% of our audience are either in acute care or in aged care in fact, what’s the take away for them?
D: The take away I think is not underestimate their abilities as clinicians and health professionals and my motivation here is to focus on nurses and nursing. Nurses are extremely highly educated, talented individuals and I don’t know whether the nurses are aware that again this year internationally they’ve been voted the most important career to the community. So the most valued and trusted person in the community is a nurse and I think nurses can do themselves a great justice by diversifying what they might believe is their career, start to investigate the evidence behind aging and behind geriatric work and behind who these clients are they see in front of them and do they actually apply the evidence of science to get the best practice when they are assessing them, transitioning them and treating them because there is big disparity between the acute and subacute areas as we’re looking after older people and of course residential and community settings. One of the clear things that people should understand is that hospitals are no place, no place for the dementing elderly and people with dementia are complex in late part of their syndrome and the last place they need to be is a confined to a hospital ward or surgical ward or a medical ward. The other thing I think with all health practitioners need to value and understand is the process of advance care directives and when people as consumers and customers of the health care system have gone to the extent of engaging other health professionals to advise them on their advanced health directives, they’re not for resuscitation where they have chosen a pathway that they want respected and managed then health practitioners should look at it, investigate it and wrap it and support it in the process rather than stick primarily to the “We can save your life” medical model.
D: It’s a big, a big tough issue at the moment.
W: It’s going to be, I was going to say, a hard conversation has to be heard before the baby boomers find themselves in a comfortable environment in their retirement.
D: Well that’s right and at the moment I try to get health professionals understand the baby boomers are actually your partners in health care because the last percentage of people we’re dealing within the old age cohort are the boomer parents and boomers are watching their parents and perhaps to support and transit their parents into their end of life and boomers have a particular way that they would like to see it done because of course the next …off the ring and I think health professionals will go a long way in health care at the moment when they’re discussing their older geriatric clients to really focus in with their boomers to understand how do we partner to get the best transition for the elderly because the baby boomer is the decision maker for their parents’ transition really at the moment in life.
W: Drew it’s been fascinating how…the chat with you but we’re running out of time, how can people get in touch with you or find out more information?
D: If anybody wants to get in touch with me I have a website, it’s www.dr-drew.com, so it’s dr-drew.com.
W: And there’s more information and contact details there I imagine?
D: There’s heaps of contact details there. I have a lot of association with other companies or particularly a Clinical Frontline Care Solutions and I do a lot of online training, recording, seminars and sessions in a lot of being such as palliation, end of life, dementia care and all of my information and teachings are recordable online and purchasable by people. So I encourage all clinicians who want to extend their knowledge around their older cohort clients to start educating and empowering their knowledge and then translating that and implementing into your practice, it’s not hard to do.
W: Well Dr. Drew it’s been a pleasure having you with us today and it’s certainly been informative. Thank you so much for your time.
D: You’re welcome Wayne. It’s been really nice to talk to you and all your listeners out there in the medical field and I hope they’re all having a fantastic day and putting smiles on their faces and those of their clients.
W: And we’ll have to chat some more I think, there’s lot of interesting things to be said here.
W: If you just missed my conversation with Dr. Drew, the good news is you can contact him on his website, dr-drew.com that’s dr-drew.com. You can also find on our website a transcript of this interview and there’s an audio archive as well both on YouTube and SoundCloud and so if you just tuned in and caught the end of us or if you’re looking at us on one of the websites, the full interview is available for download on our archive. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio and our website we can find those resources is www.hpr.fm. My name is Wayne Bucklar and thanks for being Health Professional Radio today.