I am interested in patient-centred medical care and have had a life-long interest in medicine in old age. Dementia is a major issue for individual patients, carers and society. The care is often fragmented and there is no clear evidence base for what we do now. This has to change for the benefits for patients and the health care system.
We need more evidence behind our practice as a lot of things we do as clinicians are in an evidence-free zone. This is more common in geriatrics because older people sometimes fall outside the parameters of research studies.
One of the main studies we’re currently doing is to bring some evidence basis to dementia care. This is currently very fragmented and there are delays in diagnosis and care planning. The plight of the carer, who often has to provide 24/7 care, is often neglected.
We want to know what happens to the patient and carers once the diagnosis is made. What is the delay for diagnosis? What are the enabling factors for earlier diagnosis from the healthcare provider’s perspective?
The end point will be happier and healthier patients, carers and society. If I can make a patient happy, I will be happy too.
Professor Kichu Nair AM is Professor of Medicine and Deputy Dean (Clinical Affairs) at the University of Newcastle School of Medicine and Public Health and Director for the Centre for Medical Professional Development within the Hunter New England Health District, researching in conjunction with the HMRI’s Public Health program.
He is a widely respected clinician, researcher and teacher whose contributions to clinical practice and medical education were recognised by the Australian Government in 2009 with an Order of Australia (AM) medal - believed to be a first for an Indian-born doctor.
He is the first International Medical Graduate to have all levels of attainment within the profession of medicine and reached the highest level of recognition available in Australia. Via the Australian Medical Council, he developed the Workplace Based Assessment Program for other International Medical Graduates, the first of its kind in Australia. It has changed the way international doctors are assessed in Australia .
Professor Nair pioneered a multidisciplinary approach to aged care through Hunter New England Health’s ‘Maggie Project’, which has improved the quality of care of the hospitalised elderly – the program is now expanded to many centres in NSW.
He serves as a Senior Examiner and Member of the Board of Examiners for the Australian Medical Council, as a member of the National Panel of Examiners for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
In November 2014 Professor Nair received the University of Newcastle's Outstanding Achievement and Excellence Award as an "Outstanding contributor to the Faculty over a number of decades in the areas of health education and research and in the leadership of highly significant and innovative initiatives and partnerships with local health districts, national authorities and government departments".
He has over 120 publications, written book chapters for six textbooks and published his own book “Problem Based Physical Examination”, 2010 World Scientific Publications.
Professor Nair has collaborated on a scoping study for the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The Hunter Area has a strong track record of Ageing research and Professor Nair is the foundation Chair of Hunter Ageing Research, a multi-disciplinary research team.
He was a member of the Ageing Productively and Ageing Well sub-group of the NHMRC and was invited to give a private hearing for the Senate Committee into “Inquiry into long term planning for Ageing in Australia”.
Professor Nair has also served as Associate Editor of the Australasian Journal on Ageing; during this time the Journal has consolidated its reputation and is now seen as the leading journal in this field in Australasia. This year Professor Nair has been invited by the prestigious Medical Journal of Australia to be Series Editor for Clinical Skills.
HNEH Centre for Medical Professional Development