End the decay: The cost of poor dental health and what should be done about it

The Brotherhood of St Laurence has released a report analysing the costs of poor dental health on the economy and those least able to afford dental care. Millions of people are financially locked out of Australia's expensive dental health system, undermining their capacity to gain and keep employment and at an annual cost to the economy of more than $1.3 billion.

End the Decay: The cost of poor dental health and what should be done about it, analysed existing data to estimate the disease burden of untreated dental conditions - and the resulting economic burden. The report's authors, Professor Jeff Richardson from Monash University and Bronwyn Richardson from Campbell Research and Consulting, found that the direct and indirect costs to the economy are significant.

Australia's mothers and babies 2009 (AIHW)

The report, Australia's mothers and babies 2009, shows that Australian women continue to wait longer to have children. The average age of women who gave birth in Australia has increased steadily from 29.0 years in 2000 to reach 30.0 years in 2009.

In 2009, 294,540 women gave birth to 299,220 babies in Australia. The increase in births continued, with 2,295 more births (0.8%) than reported in 2008.

Smoking while pregnant was reported by 14.5% of all mothers, by 37.0% of teenage mothers and almost half (49.6%) of Indigenous mothers.

In 2009, 863 women had a homebirth, representing 0.3% of all women who gave birth.

Media release

Health Statistics NSW

Health Statistics NSW is an interactive, web-based application that allows users to access data and tailor reports about the health of the New South Wales population for their own use. Health Statistics NSW is a NSW Government initiative and provides information on:

* the health status and demography of the NSW community
* health inequalities and the determinants of health
* the burden of disease and current health challenges
* trends in health and comparisons between age groups and geographic locations.

Glen's story - hospital associated infections (free video)

The Victorian Infection Control Professionals Association (VICPA) has produced a video to show how hospital associated infections can have a serious impact on a person's health outcomes. In Australia each year, it is estimated there are 200,000 hospital-associated infections and many of these infections are preventable.

The VICPA video, Glen's story, aims to support healthcare professionals in their infection prevention and control initiatives. The video was produced with the assistance and support of a family who share their experience and the impact that acquiring a hospital associated infection has had on their lives.

Health check shows we must change our aged care approach

The Australian Parliament must agree a long-term plan to reform the health and aged care system to address an unsustainable growth in demand and rising costs that will consume more than 40 per cent of most government budgets by 2050.

Business Council of Australia's Jennifer Westacott has released Preparing for a Better Future: Creating a Sustainable System of Aged Care Services for Australia - the Council's response to the Productivity Commission's final inquiry report on aged care services. "We strongly endorse the need for change and the Productivity Commission's recommendations, and we urge the parliament to agree that only major long-term reform of the sector will address the challenges ahead," Ms Westacott said. "Business has a stake in this debate because a poorly managed approach to the ageing population will dramatically reduce the scope of governments to provide other essential services such as education and infrastructure."

2010 Australian national infant feeding survey: indicator results (AIHW)

The 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey is the first specialised national survey of infant feeding practices in Australia. The survey also collected information on attitudes towards, and enablers for and barriers against breastfeeding.

2010 Australian national infant feeding survey: indicator results provides baseline data on key infant feeding indicators, including: most babies (96%) were initially breastfed, but only 39% were exclusively breastfed for less than 4 months, and 15% for less than 6 months; overall 35% of infants were introduced to solid foods by 4 months of age and 92% by the recommended age of 6 months; around 7% of infants drank cow's milk by 6 months, with most not starting until the recommended age of 12 months.

Media release

Alcohol, pregnancy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder : new website

The Alcohol, pregnancy and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) site from the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research provides general information on alcohol, pregnancy and FASD, as well as showcasing current research projects and achievements in the field. Resources are available for health professionals, researchers, parents, carers, teachers, and others working with children with FASD, as well as members of the general public. Resources include booklets, fact sheets, and an extensive publications bibliography.

Neural tube defects in Australia: prevalence before mandatory folic acid fortification (AIHW)

Neural tube defects in Australia: prevalence before mandatory folic acid fortification describes the prevalence and trends of neural tube defects (NTD) in Australia during the past decade. Characteristics and outcomes of the births and pregnancy characteristics of mothers are presented for the period 1999-2008. The purpose of compiling this national report is to provide baseline prevalence of NTD, before implementation of mandatory folic acid fortification of bread flour in September 2009.

Neural tube defects, the most common of which is spina bifida, are a group of major congenital anomalies that result from very early disruption in the development of the brain and spinal cord. There is strong evidence of substantial reductions in NTD-affected pregnancies among women who consume folic acid around the time of conception.

Media release

Ambulance to Emergency Department Handover Project

New to the resources on ARCHI is the NSW Ambulance to Emergency Department Handover Project. The project has been established to develop a protocol for handover that promotes the safe transfer of pre-hospital care to Emergency Department clinicians. The IMIST-AMBO protocol uses a mnemonic to give structure to the way paramedics organise information and supports standardisation of the processes used in handover.

Supporting resources include a downloadable explanatory DVD, posters, triage sheets and project report.

Misaligned values: why NSW rural nurses resign ?

Dr Susan Bragg recently explored the persistent problem of nursing workforce shortages due to challenges in retaining staff, especially in rural areas, in her CSU PhD thesis, "Degree of value alignment : why nurses resign: a grounded theory study of rural nurses' resignations." She based her study on previous research that indicated job dissatisfaction is implicit in nurse resignations from rural hospitals, however the identification of the underlying reasons that contribute to job dissatisfaction has remained elusive.

"My findings indicate that nurses resign from NSW rural hospitals when hospital values change and nurses are unable to realign their values to the hospitals. The main value held by the nurses I interviewed was to provide a high standard of patient care, but nurses found it increasingly difficult to do so due to changes in rural hospitals."

"These changes included rural area health service restructures, centralisation of budgets and resources, cumbersome hierarchies and management structures that inhibit communication and decision making, outdated and ineffective operating systems, insufficient and inexperienced staff, bullying, and a lack of connectedness and shared vision between nurse and hospital."

Dr Bragg explained that the theory emerges around the core category of "conflicting values" which explains the conflict between nurses' personal values - how nurses perceive nursing should occur, and organisational values - how the hospital enables nurses to perform their duties.

Press release

Full thesis

Aged care reform information sheets (NACA)

The National Aged Care Alliance has published a number of information sheets designed to inform health professionals and the public about changes recommended by the Productivity Commission. Titles of the sheets are:

Aged Care and Access to the Gateway
Aged Care Services - Access and Consumer
The Aged Care Workforce
Dementia and Aged Care Reform
Entitlement to Aged Care Services and Greater Choice
Health Reform and Aged Care
Paying for Aged Care
Quality Aged Care Services
Special Needs Groups - Access and Consumer Protections

Institute fights to beat dementia

The Brain and Mind Research Institute in Sydney is investigating whether early intervention programs promoting mind health can reduce cognitive decline.


Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating [Drafts for public comment]

Drafts of the Australian Dietary Guidelines and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are now available for public comment.

The Guidelines are based on the best available scientific evidence linking diet and health. They provide information for health professionals and the general population to reduce the risk of diet-related disease. The Dietary Guidelines encourage healthy dietary patterns to promote and maintain the nutrition-related health and wellbeing of the Australian population.

The revised Australian Dietary Guidelines have been updated with recent scientific evidence about the relationships between food, dietary patterns and health outcomes. They are based on foods and food groups, rather than nutrients as in the 2003 edition.

The evidence base has strengthened for:

* The association between the consumption of sugar sweetened drinks and the risk of excessive weight gain in both children and adults
* The health benefits of breastfeeding
* The association between the consumption of milk and decreased risk of heart disease and some cancers
* The association between the consumption of fruit and decreased risk of heart disease
* The association between the consumption of non-starchy vegetables and decreased risk of some cancers
* The association between the consumption of wholegrain cereals and decreased risk of heart disease and excessive weight gain.

Evidence suggests Australians need to eat more:

vegetables and legumes/beans; fruits; wholegrain cereals; low fat milk, yoghurt, cheese ; fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, legumes and beans (including soy), and nuts and seeds; and red meat (young females only)

Evidence suggests Australians need to eat less:

starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes); refined cereals; high and medium fat dairy foods ; red meats (adult males only); food and drinks high in saturated fat, added sugar, salt, or alcohol (e.g. fried foods, most take-away foods from quick service restaurants, cakes and biscuits, chocolate and confectionery, sweetened drinks).

Supporting documents to the guidelines include : the Evidence report, Literature Review on Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women and A Modelling System to Inform the Revision of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.

Submissions are invited on the guidelines. The Public Consultation is open until Wednesday, 29 February, 2012.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services, 7 state and territory bulletins (AIHW)

In New South Wales in 2009-10, 258 government-funded alcohol and other drug treatment agencies and outlets provided 35,202 treatment episodes. This was an increase of eight treatment agencies and 309 episodes compared to 2008-09. Alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern, rising from 51% of episodes in 2008-09 to 54% in 2009-10. Cannabis accounted for 18% and heroin for 10% of episodes. The proportion of amphetamine-related episodes fell slightly from 9% to 7%. Counselling was the most common form of main treatment provided (34% of episodes), followed by withdrawal management (20%) and assessment only (16%).

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in New South Wales 2009-10

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Victoria 2009-10

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Queensland 2009-10

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in South Australia 2009-10

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in the Northern Territory 2009-10

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Western Australia 2009-10

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in the Australian Capital Territory 2009-10

The Child Dental Health Surveys Australia, 2005 and 2006 (AIHW)

The Child Dental Health Surveys Australia, 2005 and 2006 describes the state of oral health of Australian children attending a school dental service in 2005 and 2006. Dental decay remains relatively prevalent among Australian children, affecting the deciduous teeth of more than half of all 6 year olds, and the permanent teeth of nearly half of all 12 year olds.

Media release

Dads' depression breeds emotional problems in children (UON Research)

Infants with depressed fathers are three times more likely to have emotional and behavioural problems than children with happier dads, according to new research by the University of Newcastle Family Action Centre’s Dr Richard Fletcher.

A study of more than 2600 families found that paternal depression during infancy could and have a negative impact on a child’s behaviour and development and cause ongoing emotional problems. Dr Fletcher and his team found that infants with depressed fathers were more likely to have continuing behavioural problems at ages four and five than those with happier fathers.

Research reveals the daily struggle with psychotic illness (Sane Australia)

A comprehensive study of thousands of people with psychotic illness provides compelling evidence of the need to provide more support and better-coordinated community mental health services in Australia.

The People Living with Psychotic Illness 2010 study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken in Australia, found that psychotic illness affects around one in every 200 Australians every year and that 90% of people affected report a deterioration in their ability to function in their daily life – be it cooking, cleaning, managing their finances or working.


Australian guideline for treatment of problem gambling

The Problem Gambling Research and Treatment Centre (PGRTC) at Monash University has developed the first guideline to address problem gambling in Australia - Guideline for screening, assessment and treatment in problem gambling. It has been developed in response to the need for problem gambling services, practitioners and policymakers to have evidence-based guidance in the design and delivery of treatments for people with gambling problems. The growing availability of a research base in problem gambling has helped make this possible.

An abridged outline of this guideline has been published by MJA. MJA
Online First, 22 November 2011 : doi: 10.5694/mja11.11088

Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2011 (AIHW)

Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2011 summarises the most up-to-date information available in Australia today on the oral health and dental visiting of the Australian population. Data have been sourced from surveys managed by the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) and administrative data sets managed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Domestic violence in Australia: an overview of the issues 2011

This background note by Liesl Mitchell of the Parliamentary Library is a guide to research and resources on domestic violence in Australia. It includes an overview of research on the prevalence of domestic violence, attitudes and risk factors, at risk groups and communities and the costs of domestic violence to communities and to the economy. It also covers policy approaches designed to prevent domestic violence, a survey of current Australian Government programs and initiatives and a review of future directions in domestic violence prevention. Appendix A contains extensive links to sources of further information on domestic violence in Australia.

Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia (AIHW)

Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia presents the latest available incidence, survival and mortality statistics on cancer in young Australians aged 15 to 29. The incidence of cancer in this age group has become steady since the mid-1990s while cancer mortality has fallen between 1983 and 2007. Survival from cancer in adolescents and young adults has been relatively high and has improved with time, although cancer outcomes vary across population groups.

Media release