New Task Force Member: A Focus on Older Adults

New Task Force Member: A Focus on Older Adults

Dr. Henry Siu is passionate about caring for older adults, a perspective he wants to integrate into the Task Force as its newest member.

An Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Dr. Henry Siu, the Task Force’s newest member, was inspired by a mentor during residency to work with older adults. After working the last 10 years in long-term care, Dr. Siu says he is humbled by that experience. He wants to bring the perspectives of older adults, and their unique needs, to the Task Force.

“Much of medicine is relationships,” says Dr. Siu. “We need to align with people’s wishes, and it’s important to bring the family in to care. I really enjoy the relationship aspect and communications both with residents and their families.

He has now branched out to caring for well older adults. “I feel I am a better physician because I learned skills in long-term care – here is what the evidence says, here’s what we should do based on their situation. I enjoy working with them. They have stories, life experience that are enriching.”

The opportunity to bring the perspective of older adults to guideline development, and the chance to advocate via the Task Force, excites him.

“Guidelines seem to be geared to younger adults,” he says. “Where do screening guidelines fit in the context of older adults, how do we apply them? Often there isn’t much evidence which makes it harder to care for older people. I want to make people think about that in guideline development.”

He replaces former Task Force member Dr. Michael Kidd, an Australian physician who was chair of the University of Toronto’s Department of Family Medicine. Dr. Kidd is now Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Australia and is assisting the Australian government with its COVID-19 response.