Improving rural mental health services

People in rural and remote areas will be pleased that Federal Budget announcements will lead to more and better-targeted mental health services locally for those in the Bush. In particular they welcome the greater emphasis to be given to the Access to Allied Psychological Services program (ATAPS) as part of a stronger whole-of-government approach to mental health.

The Budget’s targeting of so called ‘hard to reach groups’ is an important step, with additional mental health resources to be provided for young people and those living in rural and remote areas.

AFRC Bibliography Collection

The Australian Family Relationships Clearinghouse now provides bibliographies on a range of topics related to family, family relationships and issues that affect Australian families.

All bibliographies are sourced from the library database of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and related to international and Australian research on family wellbeing in Australia.

Dementia among aged care residents: first information from the Aged Care Funding Instrument (AIHW)

The Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) is a new tool to appraise the care needs of permanent residents in residential aged care facilities. The ACFI appraisal was used to identify more than 104,400 permanent residents in 2008-09 who had a diagnosis of dementia. This equates to 53% of all residents with an ACFI appraisal in this financial year. 70% of residents with a dementia diagnosis were female reflecting their overall proportion in residential care. Approximately 79% of all residents with dementia were aged 70 years and over.

Media release

Disability, Australia, 2009

Just under one in five (18.5%) Australians had a disability in 2009, according to new figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This represents approximately 4.0 million people. The main disabling conditions reported in 2009 were back problems (15.6% of all persons with a disability) and arthritis (14.8%). Between 2003 and 2009 the proportion of people with a disability decreased by 1.5 percentage points, mainly due to decreases in the prevalence of arthritis, back pain and asthma. However, the number of people with a disability has increased along with population growth.

Media release

Heart disease still the leading cause of death in Australia

The leading cause of death in Australia in 2009 was heart disease, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics(ABS).

While the proportion of deaths from heart disease has decreased over the past decade, it still accounted for 16.0% of all deaths in 2009, compared with 20.9% in 2000. Deaths due to dementia and Alzheimer's disease have more than doubled over the past 10 years, accounting for 5.9% of all deaths in 2009 compared to 2.8% in 2000. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are now the third leading cause of death overall. Lung cancer was responsible for the most deaths caused by cancer accounting for 5.5% of all deaths and is the second leading cause of death for males and the fourth leading cause for females. There were 2,130 deaths due to suicide in 2009, accounting for 22% of all deaths amongst 15-24 year old males in 2009. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, accounting for 15.3% of all Indigenous deaths.

Media release

Funding hope to increase Indigenous life expectancy

A far west Aboriginal health organisation hopes a new report on Indigenous life expectancy will see more Federal funding to decrease the gap. Maari Ma Health Aboriginal Corporation has welcomed the report by the Institute of Health and Welfare which found 80 per cent of the life expectancy gap can be attributed to heart and liver disease and diabetes - conditions which are preventable.

Support for families affected by drug abuse

Children living in families affected by drug abuse will receive assistance as part of a new program to ensure they attend school and are properly cared for. Families in Orange, Forbes, Parkes and Peak Hill will receive support from Kids in Focus, launched by The Lyndon Community and The Benevolent Society. The program will help parents trying to overcome substance abuse while caring for their children at home.

Report on government services 2011: indigenous compendium

This compendium by the Productivity Commission  contains all Indigenous data contained in the Report on Government Services 2011.

Major sections include early childhood education and training; justice; health data; community services; and housing & homelessness.

Therapeutic Goods Administration launches new website.

A revamped Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website has been launched today.

The site has sections for consumers, health professionals and industry suppliers. Topics covered include regulations; recalls; reporting; assessing unapproved, internet and overseas products; travellers and medicines; education modules; consumer medicines information; and a lot more.

Press release

The health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: an overview 2011 [AIHW]

The health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: an overview 2011 is a summary publication of Indigenous health and welfare statistics prepared by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Together with a series of articles available online from the AIHW Indigenous observatory and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it provides a comprehensive statistical picture of Indigenous health and welfare. Topics covered in the publication include: demographic characteristics; determinants of health and welfare; health and functioning; mortality and life expectancy; health across the life stages; health care and other support services; and health and welfare expenditure.

For the first time, the report looks at the impact of chronic diseases on the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (currently estimated to be 12 years for men and 10 years for women). It shows that about 80% of the mortality gap can be attributed to chronic diseases, most significantly heart diseases (22%), followed by diabetes (12%) and liver diseases (11%).

"Many chronic diseases have inter-related risk factors which are often associated with social and economic disadvantage in areas such as housing, education and employment," said Institute spokesperson Dr Fadwa Al-Yaman. "Much of this chronic disease is potentially preventable."

Media release

Indigenous Health Observatory (AIHW)

The AIHW Indigenous observatory is a new repository of information on the health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The observatory homepage will feature key reports, information updates, and links to other important websites.

A key product of the observatory is the report The health and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, an overview 2011, which draws extensively on the AIHW and ABS data collections.

In addition the observatory initially contains a range of observatory papers covering an array of topics that are highly relevant to the current debates. The topics of the papers include:

Child safety
Access to health services
International comparisons of life expectancy
Contribution of chronic disease to the mortality gap
Eye health
Life expectancy
Older people

Each paper includes a summary page, presenting the most important or interesting messages, with the full report also available for download. The collection will be added to and updated in 'real time', as new papers are completed. The AIHW observatory complements the ABS Indigenous data collections. Between them both, readers can access a comprehensive statistical overview of Indigenous health and welfare.

Artwork for the observatory has been sourced through a local Indigenous artist, James Baban. The painting is about health, wellbeing and support. It illustrates that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have unique cultures and ways of perceiving the world. Only through two-way culturally appropriate communication and engagement can relevant services and support be provided to Indigenous people.

Patient Blood Management Guidelines

NHMRC recently approved this guideline developed by the National Blood Authority (NBA) for use by health care professionals in managing patients with critical bleeding requiring massive transfusion.

The NBA Patient Blood Management Guidelines Module 1 - Critical Bleeding/Massive Transfusion is the first of six patient blood management modules being developed to replace the NHMRC/Australasian Society of Blood Transfusion (ASBT) Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Use of Blood Components (2001). Future modules under development by NBA will address peri-operative, medical, critical care, obstetric and paediatric patient blood management.

The guideline and accompanying documents can be accessed from the NBA and also from the NHMRC Clinical Practice Guidelines Portal

A snapshot of osteoporosis in Australia 2011 (AIHW)

A snapshot of osteoporosis in Australia 2011 brings together the latest data on osteoporosis in Australia. The purpose of the snapshot is to provide the latest statistical information in a timely and efficient manner.

Media release

Rural Workforce Research: Virtual Issue

This open access edition of The Australian Journal of Rural Health, March 2011 on rural workforce research (Edited by David Perkins of the Broken Hill Centre for Remote Health Research) brings together a selection of articles previously published in this journal. Workforce issues of concern to rural and remote areas will be of interest to rural health professionals, researchers, students and policymakers.

Amongst the many topics covered are :

* The health of the rural health workforce

* Harnessing a University to address rural workforce shortages

* Physiotherapy in rural and regional Australia

* Rural nursing and midwifery workforce

* Junior medical officer recruitment

* Medical students and rural general practitioners.

Also available are the 2008 virtual issues on mental health and indigenous health.