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Leading the way in research in allied health

Physio David Snowden

Peninsula Health has broadened its research portfolio in rehabilitation, with the appointment of David Snowdon to a newly established position of Allied Health Research Lead in Sub-Acute.

David started his new role in 2018 and is already working hard to deliver significant results for the local community. David’s role is not only to initiate his own investigative work, but also to foster and encourage research projects across the sub-acute areas at Frankston, Mornington, Hastings and Rosebud.

Facilitating research across the health service

“My role is to help clinicians conduct research but also translate it into practice,” explains David.

“So if clinicians want to change their practice in a certain area or if they have found some evidence they would like to explore further, I can help to facilitate that work.”

“The best research ideas come from the clinicians themselves, so that will be something I will help to establish, depending on where they think the gaps are and where improvements can be made.”

Initiatives like the SPeED (Supporting Patient-Centred Early Discharge) program at The Mornington Centre illustrate that Peninsula Health is keen to innovate in sub-acute care and is looking at ways to translate successful research into clinical practice for local people.

“There are a lot of innovative clinicians here at Peninsula Health,” adds David.

“That is what you need for research to be successful.”

 As an experienced physiotherapist, David is enthusiastic about his dual role as a clinician and researcher.

“I practiced physiotherapy for seven years before I took the jump into research, but I still work in inpatient rehabilitation, at weekends.”

“One of the frustrations you have as a physio is, treating just one patient at a time, your immediate caseload, but with research you can add to the body of literature,” enthuses David.

“That work can affect a large body of patients, not just here, but nationally and internationally as well.”

Creating knowledge

“It’s a different type of challenge from the clinical experience, as you are trying to create knowledge, which is really challenging but exciting as well, and I enjoy that type of intellectual stimulation.”

Peninsula Health’s population is growing, and forecasted to increase by 10% over the next decade, alongside the existing spread of demographics and socio-economic challenges.

 “This is a great opportunity to be able to explore ways to address the growing population and how we look after older adults,” says David.

“How do we close the gap to deliver healthcare with equity to all, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds?”

“The population in this area is, on average, older than the rest of Victoria, so when you have a catchment of people who are older it gives you a chance to set the template for what the rest of Australia might achieve in the future.”

“That’s quite exciting. If we can find ways to improve the care we deliver and make it more efficient, then it should help to guide practice not just here, but also around the world and lead the way.”

This article first appeared in the 2018 Research Report. Read the full edition online here.