Life after the Master Vitality and Ageing

Ariane van Loevezijn took the Master on Vitality and Ageing in 2011/2012. Partly because of the master, Ariane could do her research project in Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital Department of Aged Care in Sydney, Australia. Below you can read about some of her experiences.

I will briefly explain what my research project is about and how I ended up in Hornsby Hospital the year after I graduated from the Academy.
Currently I am in my fifth year of medicine. I decided to accomplish the scientific training period of my medical education directly after my graduation from the Master Vitality and Ageing, prior to my clinical rotations. I thought it would be a good opportunity to start with my research in order to further develop the research skills I had acquired at the Academy.

How it all started
I met Associate Professor Susan Kurrle and Professor Ian Cameron during a lecture at the academy. They were invited by the academy to lecture on models of care in Australia. We spoke about their current research in Sydney. As I like to travel and broaden my knowledge on medicine in different cultures, I directly asked if they would be happy to have me work as a research intern at one of their studies in Australia. After discussing different projects we decided I would be working on a small research programme about the feasibility of monitoring physical activity of older people with and without cognitive impairment at home and in the hospital, with an accelerometer.

Chest-x ray
Arranging a research internship in Australia turned out to be a little more difficult than I had expected. One week prior to the starting date of my scientific training period in Sydney the ethical committee had not yet approved the project and I was still waiting for my visa to be granted. The processing of the visa application took longer than I had expected, because the Australian government demanded a full medical examination and chest-x ray.
Fortunately, the visa was granted and a couple of days later my great colleagues at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital had managed to get the project approved by the ethical committee. Apparently, approval of the project had been complicated because I would be requiting participants with dementia. After they had made some adjustments to the proposal, I could finally start my 14-week during research internship at the department of aged care in Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital on Monday, 12 November 2012.

My research project
Increasing physical activity of older people is a key intervention for improving health and understanding the differences in levels of physical activity of older people is a precondition for designing programs to increase activity. It is likely that levels of activity are influenced by age, physical and cognitive condition and there might be gender differences.
Currently, my work at the department consists of requiting participants and visiting them in the community to attach the accelerometer and analyse the data. Of course, beside the interesting research project and the wonderful supervisors and colleagues at Hornsby hospital I also get to see the beautiful country and culture of Australia.

Healthcare in a remote area
Last week Doctor Ian Cameron and Susan Kurrle showed me the organization of healthcare in a more remote area of Australia. They invited me to stay with them in Batemans bay for a couple of days as they both run a clinic in two different hospitals there. I spent two very instructive days with Doctor Susan Kurrle seeing patients for dementia including a lady with a text book example of hospital- induced delirium.
Doctor Kurrle was asked to see a confused patient who had been admitted on the acute ward with severe pain in her leg caused by a spinal disc herniation. You could hardly imagine that this sweet looking elderly lady had been chasing the staff with a fire-extinguisher just the other day. We soon found out what had caused the confusion. Admitted to the hospital, the lady was administered her medication as prescribed including three tablets per day for her incontinence. During the interview the lady and her daughter told us that she would normally only ever take one of these tablets when they had planned to go out.
After we had finished the work in the clinic, doctor Kurrle decided we should work on our own physical activity. We took a couple of surf ski’s and body boards to the beach and doctor Kurrle showed me how to catch some serious waves.

Ariane van Loevezijn