Local resident and Professor Susan Kurrle, MD PhD, has been officially awarded and acknowledged for her “invaluable contribution” to developing services for elderly residents in the Hornsby Shire and the country.
Professor Kurrle (pictured) was recently announced as the recipient of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) 2022 Sidney Sax medal for outstanding contributions to the development and improvement of Australia’s healthcare system.
Professor Kurrle is a practicing geriatrician for the Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD), specialising in the areas of dementia, frailty, elder abuse, successful ageing, and intergenerational care.
Professor Kurrle also features in the ABC TV documentary series Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds as the expert geriatrician. The television series showcased the benefits that intergenerational care programs can have, and their ability to promote participation and social connectedness, increasing happiness, dignity, and self-esteem for all participants. At its recent October meeting, Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock spoke of Professor Kurrle’s impact across the Hornsby Shire, which has a significant population of older people and rising rates of dementia.
“Congratulations and thank you to Professor Kurrle, who has played a key role in developing services for the older residents of Hornsby Shire,” he said.
“In her capacity as Co-Chair of the Northern Sydney Dementia Collaborative, she worked alongside Council in having Hornsby recognised as a Dementia Friendly Community.
She has provided her support through presentations regarding dementia support and healthy ageing and raising dementia awareness at a range of Council events and activities.
“Most recently, she spoke at the Launch of the Hornsby Village Hub, a collaboration between Council and the Sydney North Public Health Network together with a range of community partners and supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Social Services through their ‘Seniors Connected Program’.”
At the meeting, Hornsby Councillor Janelle McIntosh acknowledged Professor Kurrle’s contribution to the development of Council’s draft Healthy Ageing Strategy.
Adopted in September, the Strategy consists of four key focus areas: living in age-friendly environments; participating in inclusive communities; staying safe, active, and healthy; and being resilient and informed.
As a leader and expert driving research in dementia and aged care, Professor Kurrle has been co-designing services with general practice for several years.
She co-founded the Geriatric Rapid Acute Care of the Elderly (GRACE) program, a ground-breaking approach to helping treat older patients in the appropriate setting, be it the home, or aged care settings, rather than in emergency departments.
The GRACE model has since been adopted by many other Local Health Districts.
Hornsby Council has a range of resources and initiatives for people with dementia and their carers. For more information, including a video of a webinar by Professor Kurrle, visit https://www.hornsby.nsw.gov.au/dementia
The draft Healthy Ageing Strategy is on exhibition until 7th November – residents are encouraged to share their feedback at yoursay.nsw.gov.au