Too Tired to Think

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We, at  The University of Queensland Centre for Research in Geriatric Medicine (CRGM), had the privilege of hosting our international colleagues at an interRAI Network of Excellence meeting, and the Global Acute Care Excellence (ACE) Forum this week in our hometown of Brisbane.  The forum was focused on improving the quality of care for people in hospital, across the continuum of care from Emergency department to rehabilitation.  Check #ACEglobalforum on twitter and join the health conversation following the forum.

I spoke about quality indicators (QIs) which we have developed for the in-hospital episode. These QIs focus on patient outcomes and opportunities to improve care and minimize problems for older people when they are in hospital.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with colleagues from around the world, and hear about what they are doing to improve care. In this photo you can see Dr. Leon Geffen, the session chair, listening attentively.  He is Executive Director of the newly established Samson Institute for Ageing Research (SIFAR) in  Cape Town South Africa.  This institute will contribute significant research to support  health care systems for low and middle income countries.

I love the opportunity to see the posters that describe the work that people have been doing.  We had research and implementation ideas reported from New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.  Posters have to be interesting and to the point; a great way to get across key health messages in a short time.  The key changes we are anticipating for the health system in the future will be more patient participation and ownership of their personal medical record, as a result of the advances through an the electronic medical record. Have you tried using an electronic medical record? Australia has a system which has an Opt-In approach now called 'My Health Record'. Taking the opportunity to explore the opportunities connected to a personal health record is a great way to take control of your own health. 

Of course, one of the best things about these last few days was the food.  We had the opportunity to share Lamingtons with our international visitors. Truly an Australian treasure.  I always thought Lamingtons were invented to help the cake stay edible when the food was transport to our soldiers at war.  Turns out this may not be true. I found a reference to Lord Lamington who served as a Governor of Queensland. He happened to have a very clever chef named Armand Gallard, who created the lamington either to cover up the fact that the cake had been dropped in chocolate by mistake; to feed unexpected guests; or in mundane fashion it was created to help deal with a busy household that resulted from preparations for Australia's federation in 1901.

This picture shows the gnocchi which I had for dinner one night. Really inspired ingredient choices.  Our visitors said that they have really enjoyed the Australian cooking. They said that Australians appear to enjoy using fresh, local ingredients, and only cooking just enough to make a fresh tasty dish (What a compliment to Brisbane). We also appear to love eating outside (and that the restaurant with an open front to allow the breeze to flow through is a great innovation).

I enjoyed the opportunity to eat at Custom's House this week. Fabulous cuisine and a really great location. If you have a chance to visit Australia, definitely try to visit Custom's House. An historic building that is used for lectures, recitals and dinner.

With all this hard brain work, and long hours, it was really important to try and make healthy choices each day. I found the morning and afternoon tea overwhelmingly enticing, so I concentrated on having a healthy choice breakfast (nutritional smoothie shakes) and a pretty good lunch (limiting the amount of bread I had and ensuring I tried the salads and fruit platter).

I didn't have enough time to really do much walking this week, but I think it would have been great if I had managed to include that as regular part of my day.  Taking advantage of the wonderful walking paths at South Bank was a good way to get a little bit of walking in.

It's not always easy to control every part of your health and wellness while you are doing something that is a little out of the ordinary. It's important to be flexible and adjust to what is going on, but to try and keep  your healthy choices routine going as much as possible. It is also important, when the fun and entertaining are over, that you get back to your routine of daily exercise and moderate eating as quickly as possible.

Have you been in a situation where you are both tired, and surrounded by challenging food options?  How did you manage that situation?  Share your tips by leaving a comment on this page.

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