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Five questions for Steve Royle

This month we spoke to Steve Royle, Exercise Physiologist at the UQ Health Care Ipswich Bremer Medical Centre.

What have been your highlights whilst working at the Bremer Medical Centre?
Meeting and assisting so many great members of the Ipswich and Somerset Regional communities in the past three years suffering from one or more chronic health conditions to better self-manage their health with exercise and physical activity.

Assisting UQ Health Care to co-ordinate and facilitate seven falls prevention programs across the Ipswich and Somerset region in 2015 which saw 105 people attend these programs over the eight week period.

Building my type 2 diabetes group services from one class offered weekly to five in the past year and educating many Ipswich GP’s and nurses on the benefits of group services for type 2 diabetes.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I provide a number of group exercise classes weekly for different medical conditions injuries and individual consults for Medicare and DVA referrals as well as private paying customers.

What aspects of your role in providing healthcare for older people do you enjoy the most?
Showing them how to fit exercise and physical activity into their daily life around their other commitments which makes it more manageable and achievable for them.

Being able to work with a person to empower them to improve self-management and their quality of life.

Breaking down the stereotype that they are “too old” to be active or exercise!

Why is exercise physiology important for healthy ageing?
Exercise is medicine! We are the best allied health professional to provide guidance in this area as we utilise exercise as our primary method of treatment to manage and prevent chronic injuries and health issues.

Exercise is one of the cheapest forms of treatment/ management available. A recent report found that for every $1 spent on exercise physiology interventions the average person saved $10.50 over the course of the year (or a net benefit of $5,938 yearly).

Exercise and physical activity can be used to manage a wide variety of health issues. Nine out of nine recent health priority areas identified by the Australian government have large amounts of quality evidence to suggest supervised and professionally prescribed exercise is effective in their management.

What results have you seen with your older clients?
Goals and results vary so much depending on the person and why they are being referred however some of the more common ones include – improved self-confidence, improved quality of life, improved self-management of health conditions and reduced symptoms related to health conditions.

Plan to travel safe overseas

Travelling overseas over your uni break? Have you booked in for your immunisations? Registered nurse Jo-Ann Hoban based at the UQ Health Care Gatton Clinic shares what you need to know about travel vaccines.

If you travel outside Australia, you may get sick from a number of diseases that are preventable by vaccination. Different vaccines are needed for certain countries. There is no standard immunisation schedule that will suit all travellers. The recommended vaccines for travelling depend on a number of factors. These include your age, pregnancy or planning pregnancy, underlying medical conditions, vaccination history, location and season of travel.

You should book an appointment at a UQ Health Care Clinic six to 12 weeks before you leave Australia. It is important that you don’t wait until the last minute to visit your doctor to discuss what vaccines you need for your trip. You might need a number of doses of a particular vaccine and you might need time after immunisation for your body to develop full immunity.

Even if you have been vaccinated for certain diseases in the past, you should still check with your doctor or travel health clinic. Your immunity to some diseases may have changed or reduced with time and you may need a booster. Also, depending on your age and where you were born, you may not be protected against some diseases.

Travel is an important time to check whether you are up to date with your vaccinations. These can be routine childhood vaccinations and boosters. Some of these include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-whooping cough (pertussis), polio, chickenpox (varicella) and influenza. The chance of getting these diseases may be greater while travelling overseas. These diseases can be brought into Australia by travellers and lead to disease outbreaks.

Travel vaccines that may be required include hepatitis, typhoid, meningococcal, rabies, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever* and cholera.

Find out more or book an appointment at a UQ Health Care Clinic.  Remember to bring in a copy of all your previous vaccines if possible, both childhood and travel related and an itinerary, so the correct vaccines can be determined.

*Please note the yellow fever vaccine is only available at the St Lucia and Annerley clinics.

Five questions for Dr Rosy

This month we spoke to Dr Rosy , General Practitioner and Medical Director at the UQ Health Care St Lucia and Gatton Clinics

What do you enjoy about your role as a GP providing health care to students?
The diversity of presentations, further enhanced by our multicultural cohort of students.  Satisfaction even from the easiest scenarios of providing education and support to the more complicated cases where referral or other resources are needed to provide the best outcome for the students.

What challenges do GPs currently face working in student health?
Increasing demands being placed on students – financial and academic pressures with subsequent stress related presentations.

Can you suggest any solutions for these?
Currently there is increasing community concern about how people, especially the younger age group, cope with stress and the related negative mental health outcomes. With this increasing concern comes improved insight, recognition, support and resources.

How do students benefit from having GPs available on campus?
Students benefit from having an easily accessible, ‘free’ health service which provides comprehensive care, including access to our visiting mental health team, travel medicine, antenatal and paediatric care, provision of course related and catch up immunisations, contraception (including Implanon and IUDs) and sexual health, to name a few.

How important do you think it is to have these services available on campus?
Essential, as we are accessible and provide a free service, with no out of pocket costs for most consultations/procedures. For most students who are time poor and have financial constraints, a service on campus plays a major role in their health care. In addition our triage system caters for those who present acutely ill with assessment undertaken by our Registered Nurses, then GP consultation if needed.

 

 

Five questions for Dr Elizabeth Justo

This month we spoke Dr Elizabeth Justo, UQ Health Care General Practitioner at Aveo Durack.

What inspired you to pursue a career?
I started off in paediatrics, but transitioned to general practice to fit with my growing family’s needs

What have been your highlights whilst working at AVEO Durack?
The relationships I have developed with patients, and their families, with co-workers in every capacity from nursing staff, carers, village staff, and my medical colleagues who continue to amaze and inspire me with their dedication and skill. I have learnt much of life from my relationships at Aveo.

What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day is a cup of coffee, a big breath, then running/juggling consulting room and treatment room and emergency walk-ins. I am often apologising for a long waiting time to a smiling patient and an overflowing waiting room. More coffee, biscuits dropped in from wonderful patients, computer paperwork and then house calls around the community for those too frail/unwell to come to the surgery.

What aspects of your role in providing health care for older people do you enjoy the most?
It is a privilege to do this work with the aged, to become involved in their lives, getting to know them as people not just their illnesses, to know their families, their contribution to Australia and their community, and to care for them professionally at this very vulnerable time of life. They are deserving of the very best of care and support. The wisdom, the humour, appreciation and love they give back is what it is all about.

What are your interests outside of work?
I have a very busy and dedicated husband and three gorgeous sons, as well as a very strong extended family. I love reading, walking, and our labrador and look forward to having more time one day to learn bridge and travel.

 

 

The GP service offering a lifeline to homeless men

Homelessness increased by 14 percent between the 2011 and 2016 censuses, with over 116,420 people now thought to have no permanent home in Australia.

The rate of homeless men increased from 54 to 58 per 10,000, according to the data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in March this year.

There is considerable research to suggest an overlap between people experiencing precarious housing, and drug and alcohol misuse, that has created an increased need for a partnered approach to homelessness and addiction services.

UQ Health Care Clinical Lead in homelessness and addiction medicine, Dr Nancy Sturman, manages general practice support for the Ozcare Men’s Homeless Hostel and the Ozcare Integrated Drug Treatment Unit.

“I work in collaboration with Ozcare nurses, case workers, and other health professionals from Queensland Health, Mater Public Hospital and non-government organisations to provide general practice care.

“We provide care that addresses clients’ priorities, takes a trauma-informed approach, helps minimise the harms of substance use, links clients to other outreach supports, hospital-based treatment and counselling, and includes regular general practice care.”

Dr Sturman has 28 years experience as a general practitioner and a special interest in mental health issues and substance use disorders.

“My clients are often very generous with their thanks and positive feedback and appreciate the care.

“In times of trouble any success can be important, such as the clearance of Hepatitis C infection with treatment. These successes can increase self-belief and optimism about the future.

“I am often inspired by our clients, as many of the men I treat have a lot of resilience and courage despite years of experiencing accumulated trauma and pain, and significant mental health and health literacy issues.”

The Ozcare Integrated Drug Treatment Unit is a service that homeless men with alcohol or drugs problem can access and receive treatment via live-in detox programs and recovery services.

UQ Health Care Chief Executive Officer Darryl Grundy said the general practice support Dr Sturman delivers to homeless men is an important function of UQ Health Care.

“Dr Sturman and the team are highly regarded health professionals who play a significant role in supporting homeless men in Brisbane with their physical and mental health and addiction issues they face,” Mr Grundy said.

“These organisations are vital to provide health and social support to people experiencing homelessness.”

Allies in longevity: Ita Buttrose visits UQ Healthy Living

UQ Healthy Living welcomed Five Good Friends ambassador and positive ageing advocate Ita Buttrose AO OBE to its Toowong premises this week, to share how its integrated health and lifestyle programs are transforming Brisbane’s over 50s.

As a legendary media trailblazer, businesswoman, best-selling author, community and welfare contributor and 2013 Australian of the Year, Ms Buttrose’ name has become synonymous with successful ageing.

Before touring UQHL facilities, Ms Buttrose spoke on behalf of home care provider Five Good Friends at the ‘CHAT Speaker Series’ about the importance of maintaining fitness and sociability.

“Not enough (health professionals) recommend the need to improve balance through exercise to prevent falls,” Ms Buttrose said.

“I believe improving balance is a really neglected area of improving seniors’ health.”

Clinical Director and physiotherapist Simon Whitehart introduced Ms Buttrose to seniors engaging in exercise programs designed to improve specific vulnerabilities, like poor balance and strength, while on the UQHL tour.

“We’re excited to share with Five Good Friends how our programs work and introduce Ita to some of the people who have had their lives transformed since joining our community,” Mr Whitehart said.

The clinic, developed by The University of Queensland and UQ Health Care, promotes healthy ageing and wellbeing in older adults by providing assessments and interventions in exercise, diet and lifestyle.

“We want to help our clients remain as healthy, active and independent as they can be.”

Clinical educators such as Mr Whitehart are leaders in their field and closely guide UQ students as they contribute to the patient journey.

Treatment is informed by the latest research as students bring new teachings and innovation to the front line of healthcare.

Bringing together services in dietetics, exercise and sports science, clinical exercise physiology, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy and psychology, patients can access individual consults and small group activities as part of their tailored plan.

Inga Cahill M: 0402 900 121

Five questions for Dr Nga Phan

This month we spoke to Dr Nga Phan, General Practitioner at the UQ Health Care Cornwall Street Medical Centre.

 What inspired you to pursue a career as a general practitioner?
As a general practitioner, what I enjoy most about my work is the variety of health problems that I get to see and treat.  I am the first point of contact for medical issues for my patients and most of my patients will continue to see me in the long term for advice and treatment.

General practice also offers excellent work prospects.  Everyone will need to see a doctor at some point in their lives and with a growing population, the demand for services is great.

What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical day, I usually spend around eight hours consulting and half an hour on administrative work.  I see patients and their families from all ages and provide a range of services from treating acute and chronic illnesses to providing preventative health and health education.

What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most?
I am a general practitioner with a special interest in ear, nose and throat disorders.  In particular, I have an interest in chronic sinus disease. I have completed a Master’s degree in this area.  My workplace is also well equipped to allow me to perform ear examinations and cleaning using microscope suction.

What are your interests outside of work?
Maintaining a good work-life balance is important to me and general practice allows me to fulfill this.  I play tennis three times a week and jog/cycle most other days.  I am also a keen traveller and enjoy visiting other parts of Australia and overseas with my family and friends.

What do you love about living in Brisbane?
I love living and working in a metropolitan area.  Living in Brisbane, I enjoy the warmer climate.  I also think that our city has beautiful architecture, parks and riverfronts.

 

 

Everything you can possibly do to avoid the dreaded flu

We are already over half way through Winter, however the peak flu season hasn’t hit yet. Data from Flutracking, a survey backed by various Australian and New Zealand government health bodies shows that in Australia on average, between 2012 and 2016, the peak flu season didn’t hit until August. So as more people around you contract the flu how do you protect yourself?

General Practitioner Dr Toby Smith from UQ Health Care’s St Lucia clinic said the first and most important way is to get your flu shot.

“The flu shot not only helps to reduce your risk of getting the flu but it also helps to prevent people around you from getting the flu including those at most risk such as older people, those with weakened immune systems and children,” Dr Smith said.

“Flu viruses are spread by tiny droplets when people with the flu cough or sneeze.

“You can become infected with a flu after touching a contaminated surface then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.

“Even though it is so easily spread there are ways we can try and prevent these nasty viruses and help each other if you do come down with a flu.”

Dr Smith recommends six tips to avoid the flu as we approach the peak flu season.

Get the flu shot
The best and most simple way to reduce your risk of contracting the flu is to get immunised each year.

Wash your hands
Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser, as this will help reduce the risk of infection with the virus.

Keep hydrated
Adequate water intake is essential to ensure your immune system is working effectively and also aids in eliminating toxins from your body. Aim for at least eight glasses or two litres of water a day.

Eat healthy
A varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is an important factor in any healthy lifestyle. Foods high in vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc will all help to keep you healthy during the flu season.

Exercise regularly
Regular exercise helps to boost circulation allowing your immune cells to better patrol your body and fight off infections before they can take hold. As an added bonus, exercise also causes the release of endorphins which make you feel happier too.

Quit smoking
Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nose and throat making it easier for viruses to cause an infection. Smokers also tend to have a more severe reaction to viral infections, including the flu, than non-smokers.

 

 

 

 

 

Five questions for Dr Brigid Flanders

This month we spoke to Dr Brigid Flanders, General Practitioner at the UQ Health Care Cornwall Street Medical Centre.

What inspired you to become a GP?
During the course of my secondary school education in science, I was introduced to a range of vocational options and I believed that studying and practising medicine suited my interests and my orientation to caring for people’s wellbeing. After graduating, I spent three years working in hospitals and during this time, I realised that my greatest interest was in providing continuing care not just emergency care. The role of a specialist general practitioner was the best fit for me.

What were some of your highlights whilst working as registrar at the Cornwall Street Medical Centre?
I came to Cornwall Street Medical Centre in my final semester as a GP Registrar. I found the work with young and medically oriented patients interesting and varied. The level of support of the Practice Manager, senior GPs and other staff was a highlight. Another highlight was that I gathered an increasing number of families and child patients.

How did this experience equip you to become a GP?
A GP could spend their working day in their consulting room seeing only patients. I learned that it’s very important to become part of a collegial group of medical practitioners that includes but also extends beyond other GP colleagues. I learned to value professional conversations very highly because GPs are presented with such a wide range of medical problems to solve each and every day, it’s often through continuing professional conversations that your knowledge and skills expand to suit the demands of the role.

What does a typical day look like for you?
The only things that are ‘typical’ in my working days are where I work and when I work. The vast range of medical issues that I deal with and the number of different patients that I see means that my work each day is always varied.

My pattern of work is as follows… I try to arrive usually half an hour before my first appointment so that I can check and act on results that may have come in. I spend all morning consulting, try to keep on time for patients and so that I can share lunch with and catch up with colleagues. Following afternoon consultations, I typically follow up administration arising from the days consultations and incoming results.

What are your interests outside of work?
Maintaining fitness and family related activities are my greatest interests outside work, alongside music, film and the beach.

Tips on how to maintain optimal health during exams

UQ Health Care’s Clinical Director, Dr Rosy has provided five health tips to avoid bad habits, minimise stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle to achieve your best results during exams.

  1. Sleep hygiene
    Less sleep is expected this time of year with increasing demands but try to approach seven hours a night if possible. Some nights may be less which is understandable. Avoid energy drinks, excessive coffee and other stimulants which have a negative effect on your ability to initiate sleep and sleep quality.
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