The dental health of children attending a school dental service, with a focus on remoteness (AIHW)

The dental health of children attending a school dental service, with a focus on remoteness: Child Dental Health Survey Australia 2009 describes the dental health of Australian children examined by school dental service staff in 2009 and provides insights into the dental health of rural children. Dental decay was relatively common, with around half of children examined having a history of decay. Children in Regional and Remote areas were at increased risk of dental decay in their baby teeth compared with those in Major cities.

Media release

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

Oral health and dental care in Australia: key facts and figures 2012 presents the most recent information on the oral health and dental care of Australians. Data are presented on tooth decay, tooth loss, dental appearance, dental visits, insurance cover and the dental workforce. Data show that in 2010, around 64% of people aged 5 and over had visited a dentist in the previous year and 54% had some level of private dental insurance.

Media release

Health Workforce Australia has published its first Reconciliation Action Plan

Health Workforce Australia has published its first Reconciliation Action Plan. The plan focuses on building relationships, fostering respect and developing opportunities. Some of the key actions of the plan include:

* Ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are visible and celebrated and cultural protocols are respected;
* Establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment strategy, providing employment and professional development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
* Building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations or communities in our local area and business sector.

Press release

Sleep Health Foundation

The Sleep Health Foundation aims to raise public awareness of sleep health issues and to improve public health and safety. This includes highlighting the consequences of sleeping difficulties and the ways that these may be resolved through greater community understanding of sleep and sleep disorders.

The Information Library has a wide range of information modules on topics as diverse as ADHD & sleep in children, CPAP, Daytime sleepiness, Sleeping better in your hotel room, Snoring, Pregnancy and sleep, Narcolepsy and many other sleep-related topics.

eMedici : clinical case studies website

eMedici is a source of clinical case studies designed to provide an illustrated guide to many of the common and important conditions in medical practice.

eMedici is an open-ended series of case studies covering various aspects of medical practice. Many of the cases have a strong surgical flavour and are grouped into a number of surgical disciplines: breast/endocrine, digestive disease, urology, vascular surgery and so on. There are also modules containing case studies in cardiology, obstetrics & gynaecology, ophthalmology and psychiatry. New modules appear regularly.

Cases undergo a peer-review process, via the University of Adelaide.

Register to gain access to a large (and increasing) number of case studies in several different disciplines.

Western NSW Health Needs Assessment 2013

The Western NSW Health Needs Assessment 2013 is a detailed analysis of the Western NSW Local Health District population health data, patient flow, service delivery models and projected health needs. Its the first stage of the development of the strategic health service plan.

Some key facts :

*Western NSW is the second most sparsely populated LHD in NSW - just over 1 person per sq km (271,000 people: 250,000 sq km)
*Population growth in the district has been minimal - 2.0% over the past 5 years, with areas closer to Sydney growing, those beyond Dubbo declining
*The largest growth in population is for the 65+ ages - 6,500 persons or 17% growth from 2006 to 2011
*There is low forecast population growth - < 1% from 2011 to 2016
*The proportion of the population that is Aboriginal rises from 4% in Bathurst to 11% in Dubbo and to 27% in 'Remote' (this compares with 2.5% for NSW). Overall 9.4% of the LHD's population identify as ATSI, and 16% of the children (0-14 years)

Some of the priority areas identified by the HNA where health care interventions are likely to give the greatest benefits to the District's population include:

*Smoking prevention and cessation
*Nutrition and physical activity interventions, including obesity prevention
*Diabetes prevention and management
*Well child care, particularly for Aboriginal children - the first 1000 days
*Mental health - continuing and strengthening the current community services

Feedback on the HNA from communities, groups and individuals across Western NSW is being encouraged and can be sent to: .

Report outlines key issues (Western Advocate)

The Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs

Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has released the final report of the independent review into Australian Government's health workforce programs. The Mason Review of Australian Government Health Workforce Programs makes 87 recommendations covering Commonwealth programs that target the medical, dental, allied health, nursing and midwifery and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforces.

"I commissioned this review of our health workforce programs to ensure that Australian communities have access to a highly qualified health workforce now and into the future," Ms Plibersek said. "As a first step in responding to the review, I have accepted the report's recommendations to provide a more advanced system for classifying rural locations and areas of workforce need to determine eligibility for support and funding through many Commonwealth workforce programs."

Press release

Heart Online : Heart Foundation launches one-stop cardiac management website

The Heart Foundation has launched Heart Education Assessment and Rehabilitation Toolkit (HEART) Online, a one-stop website providing up-to-date best-practice information on cardiac prevention, rehabilitation and heart failure management.

Heart Foundation Queensland's Health Director Rachelle Foreman said the website was developed by clinicians for clinicians who recognised the difficulty in finding up-to-date information and research. "We understand the importance of having evidence-based best practice, but we know that most heart health professionals are time poor, so HEART Online provides them with access to the research and resources they need to provide the best possible patient care," said Ms Foreman.

HEART Online provides practical tools like patient education resources; calculators (e.g. BMI), administration templates; medication guidelines and options; resource bank and checklists for setting up, running and evaluating cardiac prevention and management programs, as well as heart failure management programs.

Press release

New Occupational Therapy student competencies website

An innovative and flexible student-centred website, the first of its kind in the world for occupational therapy students has been launched at the University of Newcastle.

5 partner universities, led by the University of Newcastle, developed the Occupational Therapy Competencies Australia (OTCA) website, which encourages student self-assessment, flexible learning and professional development.

The interactive website invites occupational therapy students to set learning objectives, use the practice resources, self-assess their skills and submit evidence of their competencies, resulting in an ePortfolio of evidence that summarises their competencies. The website includes videos, audio files and quizzes. Students invite their educators to verify and track their progress.

About OTCA

What primary health care services should residents of rural and remote Australia be able to access ?

"The implementation of primary health care (PHC) may well be one of the most significant systemic and ideological health reforms of modern times. Countries with stronger PHC systems have demonstrably more efficient, effective, and equitable health care. Primary health care can be considered a philosophy, an approach to the delivery and development of services and first contact health services. It is based on a social, rather than biomedical, model of health, with accessibility to and affordability of service as primary objectives."

That is the powerful opening statement to a new systematic review investigating what are the core primary health care services that Australians living in rural and remote areas should be able to access.

The review raises the tantalising question: if these core services can be identified, will this provide some obligation on funders to ensure they are available and accessible?

Summary of review

Hospital Performance: Healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in 2011-12,

Australia's biggest public hospitals account for a disproportionate share of reported bloodstream infections caused by the potentially deadly bacteria Staphylococcus aureus that patients sometimes develop while receiving hospital care. The latest National Health Performance Authority report shows that of the 1,725 cases of S. aureus, or "Golden Staph", bloodstream infections across 352 public hospitals, 82% were at major hospitals. However, these hospitals only accounted for 64% of monitored patient bed days.

The report, Hospital Performance: Healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in 2011-12, also highlights variations in infection rates between similar hospitals and suggests there may bedifferences in hospital reporting methods and possible under-reporting.

Media release

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy encompasses the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' holistic view of mental health, physical, cultural and spiritual health and has an early intervention focus that works to build strong communities through more community-focused and integrated approaches to suicide prevention and commits the Government to genuinely engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop local, culturally appropriate strategies to identify and respond to those most at risk within our communities.

The Strategy has been informed by extensive community consultation with 14 community meetings held across Australia attended by 446 people, a national expert workshop, and a website that received 48 contributions directly from the community.

Ministerial Press release

Leaders hail Indigenous strategy (Sydney Morning Herald)

Caring for people with dementia: New resources released for National Palliative Care Week

A set of resources to assist health professionals to care for people with dementia has bee launched as part of National Palliative Care Week. CareSearch palliative care knowledge network has developed a suite of free online resources that will benefit health professionals and residential aged care staff, plus the patients, residents, and their families who are affected by dementia. The resources, released as part of National Palliative Care Week, include:

* A Dementia Search Filter : a tested and validated tool that improves clinician efficiency by providing a one-touch, quick and effective search of evidence-based dementia literature.

* Clinical Evidence pages on dementia :a group of pages that summarise the state of the evidence in dementia, advising the key issues, limitations and contexts for practice; providing links to sources of clinical guidance and ways to find out more.

* Residential Aged Care (RAC) Hub dementia pages. When dementia progresses, the care needs of a person with dementia change. This resource provides clear, easy-to-understand information on a special page for residents and families, and one for care workers too.

The Conversation Project

The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Too many people are dying in a way they wouldn't choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty, and uncertain.

It's time to transform our culture so we shift from not talking about dying to talking about it. It's time to share the way we want to live at the end of our lives. And it's time to communicate about the kind of care we want and don't want for ourselves. We believe that the place for this to begin is at the kitchen table - not in the intensive care unit - with the people we love, before it's too late. Together we can make these difficult conversations easier.

See: The Conversation Project website

Too many mental issues untreated in bush, says study

Nearly half of people likely to have a serious mental health disorder in rural NSW are not seeking professional help, a large-scale study has revealed. The study also suggests unemployment, disability and social isolation are most likely to lead to mental health problems in the bush. As a group, health workers were almost as likely as farmers to have mental disorders (29% compared with 34%), the Australian Rural Mental Health Cohort Study of more than 2600 adults in rural and remote NSW found. But unemployed people (69%) and those permanently unable to work (57%) had the highest incidence of probable mental disorder.

While past efforts have rightly focused on farming communities, more attention needs to be paid to people ''without a voice'' who are socially isolated, perhaps because of disability or unemployment, said Associate Professor David Perkins, Director of the Broken Hill Centre for Remote Health Research and one of the study's authors.

Too many mental issues untreated in bush, says study (Sydney Morning Herald)

Report on Medicare Locals' coordination of care in rural areas

A report has been published on some of the key issues that will enable Medicare Locals to deal with the particular challenges they face in rural and remote areas. The report is from a Rural Policy Forum held on 7 April in conjunction with the 12th National Rural Health Conference in Adelaide.

The Forum confirmed the absolutely critical need to involve the community and all service providers in the planning and delivery of rural and remote health services. There must also be flexibility in service models and funding arrangements.

Participants agreed about the important role of Medicare Locals and their future, and the need for increased certainty of funding for a range of programs. The need to reduce administrative and reporting burdens was also seen as a priority.

Report summary

Media release


Hepatology: a Clinical Textbook 2013, is the most downloaded book on the free site FreeBooks4Doctors. The site currently has 360 major texts for free download, including Hematology 2012, the Merck Manual, Cardiology Explained, and Critical Care in Neurology. There are even a few medical curiosities in the list, such as the 1918 edition of Gray's Anatomy.

New study reveals high rates of Indigenous dementia

A ground-breaking study, presented at the 15th Alzheimer's Australia Conference in Hobart, has found that Aboriginal Australians are 3 times more likely to suffer dementia than non-Indigenous Australians.

Researchers say risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and diabetes, and it is thought the damage to the brain occurs as far back as childhood.

The three-year study into how Aboriginal Australians age, titled Koori Growing Old Well, was conducted across 5 urban and regional Indigenous communities in New South Wales. They were La Perouse, Campbelltown, Kempsey, Nambucca and Coffs Harbour and included 336 participants, all over 60 years of age.

Koori Growing Old Well Website

New study reveals high rates of Indigenous dementia (ABC)

painHEALTH : new website for chronic pain sufferers

WA Health's new painHEALTH website is the first of its kind in Australia and will help the estimated 700,000 Australians who suffer from chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gary Geelhoed said the website would benefit anyone who experienced conditions such as low back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

"painHEALTH is the first web resource of its kind to address the problem of chronic musculoskeletal pain from a consumer perspective," Dr Geelhoed said. "Its focus is to provide consumers with evidence-based information and skills to better manage their pain condition.

"The website features short DVD programs in which people with chronic musculoskeletal pain share their real-life stories and offer hope to other sufferers."

According to the National Pain Strategy, musculoskeletal pain is the single largest cause of chronic pain, accounting for about 25 per cent of all cases.

About the website.

Working with older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

This Briefing by the Benevolent Society presents evidence from research to guide mainstream community aged care organisations and practitioners on working in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It aims to help enhance the quality of care by ensuring it is underpinned by reflection, knowledge, understanding and respect. However, this Briefing should not be understood as a universal set of protocols, nor as a prescription for care, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are complex and extremely diverse, and accepted protocols vary across communities.

This is the 8th in a series of community aged care research to practice briefings. Other topics covered in the series include Supporting the independence of older people ; Supporting older people experiencing mental distress, and Promoting social networks for older people.

Palliative Care PubMed Searches

The links on this CareSearch page provide an easy and reliable way to find relevant palliative care literature in English. Each link runs an immediate search of PubMed and all searches are automatically updated as new articles are added to the database. There are a wide variety of searches available, covering patient problems, specific needs and issues relating to care and treatment.


Bathurst mental health facility to provide more help for local youth

Youth mental health services in the Bathurst region will be greatly improved following the opening of a state-of-the-art child and adolescent mental health facility by the Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries. Housed in the recently refurbished former dental clinic building on the grounds of the Bathurst Hospital, the "Willows" youth mental health facility will ensure more help is available for young people in the Bathurst region with a mental health issue.

"The $250,000 refurbishment and expansion of the existing facility will ensure more space is available to provide additional support and activities aimed at improving the social and emotional wellbeing of children, teenagers and their families," Mr Humphries said. "The new service at Willows will offer community based assessment and treatment options close to home that will aim to intervene as early as possible to provide the best possible recovery outcomes for young people in the Bathurst community."

Press release

The Case for Mental Health Reform in Australia

A Nous Group report on Australia's mental health system, co-authored with Medibank Health Solutions, has just been released. The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, The Hon. Mark Butler, launched the report with support from Professor Allan Fels AO, Chair of the Australian Mental Health Commission, and Mr Jeff Kennett, Chairman of beyondblue.

The Case for Mental Health Reform in Australia: a Review of Expenditure and System Design, estimates that the true cost to support individuals with mental illness in Australia is at least $28.6 billion. This figure far exceeds previous estimates. It is based on the first ever comprehensive calculation of both health and non-health expenditure. The figure excludes indirect costs like lost productivity. The report also clearly documents the fragmented and uncoordinated nature of the overall mental health system, and reviews domestic and international examples in which integrated approaches to mental healthcare and social services deliver better health outcomes and improved cost effectiveness.

Press release

MindSpot, Australia's first free online and telephone mental health clinic

Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health, Melissa Parke has launched MindSpot, Australia's first free online and telephone mental health clinic.

The project has been developed by a team of national and international experts led by researchers from Macquarie University and Access Macquarie Limited - the University's commercial company, and is in partnership with the Federal Government.

The initiative is part of the Australian Government's mental health reform package to improve access and expand mental health services in remote areas across Australia. It provides confidential assistance to people nationally via the Internet, phone or email.

The MindSpot Clinic is a free telephone and online service for Australians with stress, worry, anxiety, low mood or depression. We provide mental health screening assessments, therapist-guided treatment courses and referrals to help people recover and stay well. The online clinic delivers research-based treatment and operates 7 days a week.

Media Release

Overview of Australian Indigenous health status 2012

Overview of Australian Indigenous health status 2012 provides a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health of Indigenous people

Research for the report involves the collection, collation, and analysis of a wide range of relevant information, including both published and unpublished material. Sources include government reports, particularly those produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC), and the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP).

Health Systems Evidence

Health Systems Evidence

"The world's most comprehensive, free access point for evidence to support policymakers, stakeholders and researchers interested in how to strengthen or reform health systems or in how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them.

Health Systems Evidence is a continuously updated repository of syntheses of research evidence about governance, financial and delivery arrangements within health systems, and about implementation strategies that can support change in health systems. Health Systems Evidence also contains a continuously updated repository of economic evaluations in these same domains, descriptions of health system reforms, and descriptions of health systems, as well as a variety of types of complementary content (e.g. World Health Organization documents about health systems)."

WHO documents added to new HSE portal support health system strengthening - 25 April 2013

"Health Systems Evidence has expanded its role as a top resource for evidence on strengthening and reforming health systems by adding a beta version of a new portal for World Health Organization documents, and improving the site’s navigation and search functions.
The Intergovernmental Organizations’ Health Systems Documents Portal currently includes a continuously updated repository of policy-relevant WHO documents, and provides ‘one-stop-shopping’ for the many types of documents that can support health systems strengthening by policymakers and stakeholders around the world.
New design elements and search limits will make navigating the site easier and offer more options for how to look for documents in the world’s most comprehensive free access point for evidence to support policymakers, stakeholders and researchers interested in strengthening and reforming health systems."