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Mater Hospital addresses region’s geriatrician gap

Dr Leo Liao, Geriatrician, Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg
Dr Leo Liao, Geriatrician, Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg has welcomed a geriatrician to the region to help address a significant healthcare gap.

Prior to his move to the Queensland Dr Leo (Shengyang) Liao was the Clinical Director of Older Persons and Rehabilitation Services at the Waikato Hospital in New Zealand.

Dr Liao said he moved to the Bundaberg Region for a number of reason.

“In Hamilton, the winter is a bit cold – you often get cold hands,” he said.

“So, we thought we’d try a warmer place and I already like the climate here; it's warm all year around.

“The other thing that attracted me to Bundaberg is that there is no geriatrician in the area, and I think I can do a lot for the community.”

More than a quarter of Wide Bay’s population is aged 65 or over, which is substantially higher than the state (17.0%) and national (17.2%) average, according to the 2021 Census.

Dr Liao said the health needs of those aged over 65 were unique and often complex.

“The core feature of geriatric patients is disability, and one of the major causes of disability in older people is dementia,” Dr Liao said.

“Then there are other conditions such as falls, incontinence, multi-morbidity, which is when there are two or more chronic medical conditions presenting in one person at a time, and also polypharmacy, which is when people are using multiple medicines at the same time.

“I like to take a holistic approach and take the whole situation into consideration.

“If I can identify one or two issues and focus on those, we can improve the quality of life of our patients and that can make such a difference to the patient – that’s what we’re aiming to achieve in our care.” 

Geriatric care in Bundaberg

Mater Private Hospital Bundaberg General Manager Catherine Hackney said Dr Liao’s arrival was addressing an unmet need in the region.

“We are seeing increased demand on the health system to support our older community as they age and our aim is to enhance the quality of life they enjoy,” Ms Hackney said.

“Dr Liao’s expertise in this space will go a long way to ensuring our patients – and their families – have another layer of support as they enter their later years.

“We are thrilled Dr Liao has decided to call our region home and have no doubt he’ll have an indelible impact on how we care for our community.”

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