Finding real mental health solutions for rural Australia

AUSTRALIA’S mental health support services cannot use a one size fits all approach to lowering rates of mental illness and suicide in rural parts of the nation.
 
This is the opinion of Lifeline Research Foundation executive director Alan Woodward, who said there were a number of unique facets to rural living that led to different challenges than those faced in the city.
 
“The statistics are not great, it shows the further away from a capital city you live the higher the suicide rate is,” Mr Woodward told last week’s Innovation Generation conference in Wagga Wagga.

He said researchers were discovering a range of factors for the poor mental health ratings in rural areas.
 
Read more at: https://www.theland.com.au/story/5532370/finding-real-mental-health-solutions-for-rural-australia/?cs=4932

Aboriginal kids: a healthy start to life

This report was developed in collaboration with the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and focuses on key improvements in the health of Aboriginal children in New South Wales in the first 5 years of life.

The report emphasises the importance of services and programs being carried out in partnership with Aboriginal people, their communities, the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector and across government. Services and programs that have helped to achieve improvements in Aboriginal child health are highlighted throughout the report.

The report is divided into 3 life stages: before birth, infant health and early childhood.

Aboriginal kids: a healthy start to life (Report of the NSW Chief Health Officer 2018).

Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: what needs to be done?

This report outlines the proceedings and outcomes of the 5th National Workshop of the Australian Association of Gerontology Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ageing Advisory Group held in Perth in November 2017.

The workshop aimed to address the inequities of access and outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples under the current aged care reform program, and suggest directions for the future.

Key issues identified at the workshop were:

  • current barriers to equity of access and quality outcomes
  • specialist targeted services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders
  • delivery of appropriate care by mainstream aged care service providers
  • an aged care workforce that improves access and quality care
  • advocacy services
  • appropriate aged care needs assessment
  • an evidence-based approach.

Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: what needs to be done?

Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (AIHW)

This is the 3rd national report on the 21 Better Cardiac Care measures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with updated data available to report on 14 measures. It shows that while the mortality rate from cardiac conditions is falling among Indigenous Australians, it is still much higher than among non-Indigenous Australians. While access to cardiac-related health services is improving the incidence and recurrent rates of acute rheumatic fever among Indigenous Australians continue to be much higher than in non-Indigenous Australians.

Press release (AHHA): Come a long way, long way to go—cardiac care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Sleep deprived: a third of Australians 'suffering social jetlag'

Almost one in three Australians suffers “social jet lag”, according to a researcher seeking an inquiry into the nation’s sleep deprivation problem. The University of Adelaide sleep specialist Robert Adams said a growing body of research suggested poor sleep was taking a serious toll on Australians’ health and welfare.

A study led by Adams, published on Monday in the journal Sleep Medicine, found that 31% of survey respondents were suffering social jetlag. That is, the time of their sleep on work nights was more than an hour out of sync with sleeps on weekends or other days off.

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/jul/09/sleep-deprived-a-third-of-australians-suffering-social-jetlag

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2016–17

In 2016–17, 836 publicly-funded alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 200,000 treatment episodes to an estimated 127,000 clients.

The top four drugs that led clients to seek treatment were alcohol (32% of all treatment episodes), amphetamines (26%), cannabis (22%) and heroin (5%). The proportion of closed treatment episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has more than doubled over the last 10 years, from 11% of treatment episodes in 2007–08 to 27% in 2016–17.

Two-thirds (66%) of all clients receiving treatment in 2016–17 were male and the median age of clients remains at 33 years.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2016–17.

Australia's health 2018 [AIHW]

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/health-welfare-overview/australias-health/overview Australia's health 2018  is the AIHW's 16th biennial report on the health of Australians. It examines a wide range of contemporary topics in a series of analytical feature articles and short statistical snapshots. The report also summarises the performance of the health system against an agreed set of indicators.

 

Australia's health 2018: in brief  is a companion report to Australia's health 2018.

 

https://www.aihw.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/2018/june/our-health-report-card-is-in-and-here-s-what-we-ca Media Release

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2017

The main purpose of the Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2017 is to provide a comprehensive summary of the most recent indicators of the health and current health status of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It has been prepared by Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet staff as part of our contribution to supporting those who work in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. The Overview is a key element of the HealthInfoNet's commitment to authentic and engaged knowledge development and exchange.

The initial sections of this Overview provide information about the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, population, and various measures of population health status. Most of the subsequent sections about specific health conditions comprise an introduction about the condition and evidence of the current burden of the condition among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Information is provided for state and territories and for demographics such as sex and age when it is available and appropriate.

While it provides a comprehensive review of key indicators across a range of health topics, it is beyond the scope of this Overview to provide detailed information on other aspects, such as the availability and use of services (including barriers to their use) and strategies and policies related to specific health topics.

Accompanying the Overview is a set of PowerPoint slides designed to help lecturers and others provide up-to-date information. 

Overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health status 2017

NSW eating disorders toolkit

The NSW eating disorders toolkit aims to assist health professionals in applying best-practice principles in non-specialist inpatient settings in NSW. The Toolkit aims to assist with improving access to practical information, to facilitate consultation with specialist staff and to improve consistency of care for children and adolescents with eating disorders across NSW.

The Toolkit has been developed to provide practical information on key components of care for children and adolescents admitted with an eating disorder including:

• Triage in the Emergency Department;

• Assessment;

• Identifying those in need of admission;

• Admitting the patient;

• Accessing specialist assistance;

• Treatment planning;

• Implementing treatment (primarily medical, nutritional and psychological aspects);

• Involving the family and other health professionals;

• Transition from inpatient care; and

• Accessing further information and support.

The NSW eating disorders toolkit

Pregnancy care guidelines (Aust. Dept. of Health)

The Pregnancy Care Guidelines are designed to support Australian maternity services to provide high-quality, evidence-based antenatal care to healthy pregnant women. They are intended for all health professionals who contribute to antenatal care including midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners, practice nurses, maternal and child health nurses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and allied health professionals. They are implemented at national, state, territory and local levels to provide consistency of antenatal care in Australia and ensure maternity services provide high-quality, evidence-based maternity care. The Pregnancy Care Guidelines cover a wide range of topics including routine physical examinations, screening tests and social and lifestyle advice for women with an uncomplicated pregnancy.

Guidelines Webpage.

Impact of a remotely delivered, writing for publication program on publication outcomes of novice researchers

Increased publication of clinician-led health research is important for improving patient care and health outcomes. The aim of this retrospective cohort study conducted in rural Australia was to determine the impact of a writing for publication (WFP) program delivered by teleconference on the publication rates and skill acquisition of novice researchers who have graduated from the New South Wales (NSW) Health Education and Training Institute Rural Research Capacity Building Program (RRCBP).

Publishing research findings in peer-reviewed journals is an important aspect of research knowledge exchange1. However, the motivators to publish vary between individuals and settings. In academic settings, the drive to publish health research findings can potentially be motivated by a need to maximise publication rates for academic advancement or promotion as much as the desire to share findings for the good of health consumers and providers2,3. Within health services, research and the publication of findings is increasingly being linked to translation of research into policy or practice change processes4 aimed at improving health service delivery or health outcomes for consumers.

See more at: https://www.rrh.org.au/journal/article/4468

eHealth program targets young people’s ‘big six’ behaviours to reduce chronic disease risk

University of Newcastle researchers have collaborated on a world-first eHealth initiative aiming to target young people’s ‘big six’ behaviours to help reduce their chronic disease risk.

Associate Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin and Professor David Lubans are part of the online Health4Life Initiative, launched today at UNSW Sydney.Led by UNSW’s Professor Maree Teesson AC, the project aims to help to help thousands of young Australian high school children reduce their chance of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease and mental health disorders, by preventing and modifying lifestyle risk behaviours that commonly emerge in adolescence.

See more at: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured-news/ehealth-program-targets-young-peoples-big-six-behaviours-to-reduce-chronic-disease-risk

Admitted patient care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics,

Admissions to public hospitals are growing faster than admissions to private hospitals, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Admitted patient care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics, shows that of the 11 million admissions to hospitals in 2016–17, 6.6 million were in public hospitals and 4.4 million were in private hospitals.

'Admissions rose by 4.3% on average each year for public hospitals and 3.6% for private hospitals between 2012–13 and 2016–17, and these were greater than the average growth in population of 1.6% over the same period' said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

In 2016–17, the majority of admissions to public hospitals (83% or 5.5 million) were for public patients—however, about 1 in 7 (14% or 912,000 admissions) were for patients who used private health insurance to fund all or part of their admission.

Public hospitals accounted for the majority of emergency admissions (92%), medical admissions (77%) and childbirth admissions (76%) in 2016-17. 'By contrast, 59% of admissions for surgery were in private hospitals,' Ms Hargreaves said.

Media release

Admitted patient care 2016–17: Australian hospital statistics

MyHospitals: Average length of stay in public hospitals in 2016–17

MyHospitals: Patient admissions in 2016–17

Deficit discourse and strengths-based approaches: Changing the narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

Deficit discourse and strengths-based approaches: Changing the narrative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing explores strengths-based approaches to shifting the deficit narrative in the Australian aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. Studies, including a companion report to this one entitled Deficit Discourse and Indigenous Health: How Narrative Framings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are Reproduced in Policy, have identified a prevalent 'deficit discourse' across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy and practice.

There is evidence that deficit discourse has an impact on health itself — that it is a barrier to improving health outcomes. Accordingly, there are growing calls for alternative ways to think about and discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing. This report builds on Deficit Discourse and Indigenous Health by reviewing and analysing a growing body of work from Australia and overseas that proposes ways to displace deficit discourse in health, or that provides examples of attempts to do so. The most widely accepted approaches to achieving this come under the umbrella term 'strengths-based', which seek to move away from the traditional problem-based paradigm and offer a different language and set of solutions to overcoming an issue.

Deficit discourse and Indigenous health

Deficit discourse and Indigenous health explores 'deficit discourse' in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health policy. 'Discourse', in this context, encompasses thought represented in written and spoken communication and/or expressed through practices.

The term draws attention to the circulation of ideas, the processes by which these ideas shape conceptual and material realities, and the power inequalities that contribute to and result from these processes. 'Deficit discourse' refers to discourse that represents people or groups in terms of deficiency – absence, lack or failure.

It particularly denotes discourse that narrowly situates responsibility for problems with the affected individuals or communities, overlooking the larger socio-economic structures in which they are embedded. Understanding how deficit discourses are produced and reproduced is essential to challenging them. Thus, this report examines various aspects of deficit discourse in policy, but in particular considers deficit metrics: the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are homogenised and statistically compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

Suicidal teens suffer poor sleep, bullying

Family trauma, bullying, poor sleep and living in a single-parent home have been identified as common risk factors for suicidal behaviour among Australian adolescents.

Researchers at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute reviewed all admissions to the mental health unit at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne between October 2013 and September 2014.

In total, there were 271 adolescents admitted during the period, with 212 (78 per cent) due to suicidal behaviours.

Further analysis of clinical reports and past medical history found overwhelmingly the kids who were admitted to hospital for suicidal behaviour came from traumatic backgrounds.Three-in-five had been bullied, more than half reported significant family trauma, such as as witnessing a parent have a drug overdose or being incarcerated, said lead researcher Dr Rohan Borschmann.

Read more at: https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/5417653/suicidal-teens-suffer-poor-sleep-bullying/?cs=7

New Leadership in Suicide Prevention

Nieves Murray is the new CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia, and boasts extensive leadership experience across multiple sectors. She is this week’s Changemaker.

On 14 May, Murray was announced as the new CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia, a peak body for the suicide prevention sector. Murray, who is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and fellow of the Australian Institute of Managers and Leaders, was named one of Australia’s 100 Most Influential Women by the Australian Financial Review in 2013.

In this week’s Changemaker, Murray discusses the leadership approach she intends to take at SPA, explains her immediate priorities as CEO and reveals her new passion for playing the harp.

Read more at: https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/05/new-leadership-suicide-prevention/

How primary health care staff working in rural and remote areas access skill development and expertise to support health promotion practice

Health promotion is a key component of comprehensive primary health care. Health promotion approaches complement healthcare management by enabling individuals to increase control over their health. Many primary healthcare staff have a role to play in health promotion practice, but their ability to integrate health promotion into practice is influenced by their previous training and experience.

For primary healthcare staff working in rural and remote locations, access to professional development can be limited by what is locally available and prohibitive in terms of cost for travel and accommodation. This study provides insight into how staff at a large north Queensland Aboriginal community controlled health service access skill development and health promotion expertise to support their work.

See more at: https://www.rrh.org.au/journal/article/4413

Advance care planning in aged care: a guide to support implementation in community and residential settings

Advance care planning is the process of planning for future health and personal care needs. It provides a way for a person to make their values and preferences known so that they can guide decision-making at a future time when they cannot make or communicate their decisions.

Engaging in advance care planning helps people to determine their healthcare priorities, and thereby to align their health and care preferences with the actual care they receive.

Advance care planning is not a single event but an ongoing process, which should be revisited regularly. This is especially important when a person's health or social situation changes.

Key components of advance care planning are:

  • having a conversation about the person's values, beliefs and goals and how these influence preferences for care – this may include specific care and treatment preferences
  • selecting and appointing a substitute decision-maker
  • documenting a person's preferences in an Advance Care Directive or Advance Care Plan
  • regularly reviewing and updating the plan or directive.

Media release

Advance care planning in aged care: a guide to support implementation in community and residential settings

4 new AIHW injury reports from the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Trends in hospitalised injury due to falls in older people 2002-03 to 2014-15
This report focuses on trends in fall-related hospital care for people aged 65 and over from 2002-03 to 2014-15. Age-standardised rates of hospitalised fall injury cases increased over the period 2002-03 to 2014-15 for both men (3% per year) and women (2%). There was a decrease in the rate of hip fractures due to falls (-2% per year) between 2002-03 and 2014-15. In contrast, falls resulting in head injuries increased at a particularly high rate (7% per year).

Eye injuries in Australia 2010-11 to 201415
This report shows 51,778 people were hospitalised as a result of an eye injury in the 5-year period, 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2015; two-thirds of these were males. Falls (35%) and assaults (23%) were the most common causes of eye injuries. The most common type of eye injury was an open wound of the eyelid and periocular area (27%). Some 86,602 presentations were made to an emergency department due to an eye injury in the 2-year period, 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2015; 1% of these presentations were admitted to hospital.

Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2014-15
This report shows that the rate of hospitalised injury cases in Australia rose between 1999-00 and 2014-15 by an average of 1% per year. In 2014-15, case numbers and rates were higher for males than females for all age groups up to 60-64, and higher for females for those aged 65-69 and older.

Spinal cord injury, Australia 2014-15
In 2014-15, 264 newly incident cases of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) due to external causes were reported to the Australian Spinal Cord Injury Register. Males accounted for 4 in 5 (80%) of traumatic SCI cases. Land transport crashes(42%) were the leading mechanism of injury for cases of traumatic SCI sustained in 2014-15, followed by falls (40%). Around one-third (35%) were sustained during sports or leisure activities.

Please click on the link below to download a free PDF copy of the reports

Trends in hospitalised injury due to falls in older people 2002-03 to 2014-15

Eye injuries in Australia 2010-11 to 2014-15

Trends in hospitalised injury, Australia 1999-00 to 2014-15

Spinal cord injury, Australia 2014-15

Media release: Falls most common cause of hospitalised injury-with numbers rising

2 new AIHW cancer surveillance reports [AIHW]

Cervical screening in Australia 2018

Around 55% of women in the target age group of 20-69 took part in the National Cervical Screening Program in 2015 and 2016, with more than 3.8 million women screening.Cervical cancer incidence and mortality have both decreased since the National Cervical Screening Program began in 1991-incidence from 17 to 10 new cases per 100,000 women aged 20-69 and mortality from 4 to 2 deaths per 100,000 women aged 20-69.

Latest findings

1. In 2015-2016, more than 3.8 million women participated in cervical screening. This was 55% of women aged 20-69

2. 10% of women with a negative screen in 2015 rescreened earlier than the recommended 2 years, continuing a downward trend

3. In 2016, for every 1,000 women screened, 7 women had a high-grade abnormality detected by histology

4. In 2015, 143 women aged 20-69 died from cervical cancer.

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2018

This report presents statistics on the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program using key performance indicators. Of those who were invited to participate in the program between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2016, 41% were screened. Of those, 8% had a positive result warranting further assessment, and 1 in 26 participants who had a follow-up diagnostic assessment was diagnosed with a confirmed or suspected cancer.

 Key findings:

1. Of the 3.2 million people invited between January 2015 and December 2016, 41% participated in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program

2. The recurring participation rate in 2015-2016 for people who had taken part in an earlier invitation round and were receiving a subsequent screening invitation was 77%

3. Of participants assessed in 2016 after a positive screening test, 1 in 26 were diagnosed with a confirmed or suspected cancer

4. Since the program began in August 2006, about 4.4 million NBCSP screening tests have been completed

5. The median time from positive screening test result to diagnostic assessment was 54 days.

Download report: Cervical screening in Australia 2018

Download report: National Bowel Cancer Screening Program: monitoring report 2018

Mental health services in Australia-Emergency department 2016-17 [AIHW Web update]

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new web update:

Mental health services in Australia-Emergency department 2016-17: 

  • 276,954 presentations to Australian EDs in 2016-17 were mental health-related, which was 3.6% of all presentations.
  • 79.2% of these mental health-related ED presentations were classified with a triage status of either Semi-urgent (patient should be seen within 60 minutes) or Urgent (seen within 30 minutes).
  • 68.0% of mental health-related ED presentations were seen on time (based on triage status) compared with 73.0% of all ED presentations
  • More than half (53.5%) of mental health-related ED presentations had a principal diagnosis of either Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders or Mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use.

    View web pages

Growing up strong Buraay -- Indigenous parenting resources

"Growing up strong Buraay" is a book full of games and ideas for Wiradjuri parents on ways to interact with their toddlers (Buraay). Available in PDF from : http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/319807/par_buraay.pdf

This is one of a number of Indigenous parenting resources sponsored by the Department of Family and Community services. See: http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/parents,-carers-and-families/parenting/for-aboriginal-parents-and-carers

Two further versions of interest are:

Growing Up Strong Birrali and Gundanoo – resource for Aboriginal and Family Workers in the Far West region of NSW: Goodooga and surrounding districts.

Kiilalaana marta-marri – Growing up really big in Barkindji – resource for Aboriginal and Family Workers in the Far West region of NSW: Broken Hill and surrounding region.

Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia [AIHW]

Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia is the second national report to present key data specific to cancer in adolescents and young adults. While cancer in young Australians is rare, it has a substantial social and economic impact on individuals, families and the community. Surveillance of this population is also important as adolescent and young adult cancer survivors are at an increased risk of developing a second cancer.

1. In 2010-2014, 4,843 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in adolescents and young adults.

2. In 2011-2015, 499 adolescents and young adults died from cancer.

3. In 2010-2014, 5-year relative survival from all cancers combined for adolescents and young adults was 89%.

4. Adolescent and young adult cancer survivors had a 1.9 times increased risk of developing a second cancer

Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia

Media release: More cases of cancer diagnosed in young Australians, but survival has improved.

ELDAC: Better care at end of life gets a boost with new website

The new End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) website provides many paths to practical and useful information for palliative care and advance care planning', says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

The site is part of a 3-year project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health which aims to improve the care of older Australians through advance care planning activities and palliative care connections.

AHHA is a member of the ELDAC consortium led by the Queensland University of Technology, Flinders University and the University of Technology Sydney, and including Palliative Care Australia, Aged and Community Services Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, and Catholic Health Australia.

'As an ELDAC project partner we are proud to have been involved in the development of this website, where health professionals and aged care workers can access information, guidance, and resources to support palliative care and advance care planning for older people and their families', Ms Verhoeven said.
 
'One of the features of the site is a set of 5 online toolkits developed by palliative care, aged care, primary care and legal experts covering Residential Aged Care, Home Care, Primary Care, Working Together, and Legal matters.

'For example, the Primary Care toolkit, which was developed by AHHA, leads healthcare workers and primary care teams through the various steps involved in supporting advance care planning with patients and their families, including considerations for people of various religious and cultural backgrounds. There are links to fact sheets, guides, discussion starters, patient resources and podcasts.

'Users can also access materials on assessing palliative care needs, providing palliative care, managing dying, and bereavement', Ms Verhoeven said.

ELDAC website.

Cognitive ageing and decline: Insights from recent research

Cognitive decline is feared by many as they approach old age. Yet the severe cognitive decline associated with dementia is not a normal part of ageing. In Australasia, the prevalence of dementia in those aged 60 and over is less than 7% (Alzheimer's Disease International, 2015). Nevertheless, the personal and economic costs associated with dementia are considerable, and due to Australia's ageing population, an increasing number of Australians require treatment and exit the workforce due to cognitive impairments. 

So, how do we combat this? How do we lower the risks or delay the development of dementia, and design care and treatment interventions that reduce the personal and economic costs of the disease?

This research brief explores the impacts of cognitive ageing and decline on individuals, as well as on the wider Australian economy. The brief emphasises how cognitive impairment is a significant barrier to those over sixty staying in the workforce and managing their finances properly. The brief also discusses the current and proposed future ways to diagnose and prevent cognitive impairment before it becomes severe.

Cognitive ageing and decline: Insights from recent research

Survey of Health Care: selected findings for rural and remote Australians [AIHW]

Survey of Health Care: selected findings for rural and remote Australians

Among Australians 45 and over who visited a GP in the past year, those living in rural and remote areas were less likely than others to have a usual GP or place of care. Not having facilities nearby was a barrier to seeing a specialist and having a medical test.

Key findings:

* 3 in 5 people in Remote/Very remote areas said not having a specialist nearby stopped them from seeing one.
* People in Remote/Very remote areas were the most likely to report going to an ED because no GP was available.
* People reported decreasing information sharing between health providers as remoteness increased.
* People in Outer regional and Remote/Very remote areas were the least likely to have a usual GP.

Survey of Health Care: selected findings for rural and remote Australians

Cardiovascular health in remote and rural communities

This report provides analysis of RFDS aeromedical transport data for the period July 2013 to December 2016. This analysis revealed:

- An average of 112 patients per week or 16 patients per day were transported for CVD;

- On average, per day, 10.1 (63%) were male and 5.9 (37%) were female, a ratio of 1.7 males for every female;

- All age groups were represented; the mean age group was 55–59 years, more than one-third (35.3%) were aged 60–74 years, and 1% were children under the age of 5 years.

More than half (52.5%) of all CVD transports were for CHD. The two main CHDs that lead to a patient requiring an aeromedical transport were 'acute myocardial infarction' (heart attack) (38.9%) and 'angina pectoris' (angina) (9.4%). Almost one-quarter (22.2%) of CVD transports were for patients experiencing other forms of heart disease; the two main other forms of heart disease were 'heart failure' (4.6%) and 'atrial fibrillation and flutter' (4.0%).

This report's purpose is to detail the CVD burden on remote and rural Australia, and to propose action to ameliorate CVD impacts. Many CVD events are preventable. Increased investment in, and access to, evidence-based, culturally appropriate prevention and early intervention for people at increased risk of CVD, and those who have experienced a CVD event, is required.

Similarly, better treatment options for remote and rural Australians are also required. For example, between 2001 and 2008 the South Australian integrated Cardiovascular Clinical Network (iCCNet) established a support program for remote and rural primary care services to manage heart attacks by providing expert risk stratification, point-of-care troponin testing and cardiologist-supported decision making. The program's evaluation demonstrated a 22% improvement in 30-day survival rates for remote and rural patients, which closed the mortality disparity that had previously existed between city and country hospitals.

Cardiovascular health in remote and rural communities.

Indigenous NSW: Findings from the 2016 census

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander(ATSI)peoples continue to experience worse outcomes across a range of indicators compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts. According to the Australian National University's Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, this divergence in areas such as income are an ongoing consequence of historic violence, dispossession and other forms of colonial domination faced by ATSI people.

This paper uses the latest 2016 Census figures to provide a snapshot of how the ATSI peoples of NSW compare with non-Indigenous residents across a range of key indicators, including population, age, education, income and employment. The paper also provides a comparative analysis of these indicators over three Censuses (2006, 2011 and 2016) for both NSW as a whole and for three custom NSW regions that incorporate different State Electorates based on their location. These geographies were selected to not only to provide an indication as to how location affects the wellbeing of the State's Indigenous peoples, but to also help Members of the NSW Parliament gain greater insight into the Indigenous peoples residing in or around their electorates.

Indigenous NSW: Findings from the 2016 census.

Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 [AIHW]

Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 quantifies the health impact that alcohol and illicit drug use place on Australia, including as risk factors for other diseases and injuries. It estimates that alcohol and illicit drugs were collectively responsible for 6.7% of Australia's disease burden in 2011.

The report highlights that health inequalities exist, with lower socioeconomic groups and more remote areas generally experiencing higher rates of disease burden due to alcohol and illicit drug use.

* Nearly 1 in every 20 deaths in 2011 were from alcohol and illicit drug use, equating to 6,660 deaths.
* 6.7% of all disease burden in Australia was from alcohol and illicit drug use in 2011 (9% for males and 4% for females).
* 4.6% of all disease burden in Australia was from alcohol use alone, of which one-third was due to alcohol dependence.
* On its own, illicit drug use was responsible for 2.3% of Australia's disease burden.
* 41% of the illicit drug use burden was from opioids, followed by amphetamines (18%), cocaine (8%) and cannabis (7%).
* Alcohol use was responsible for around one-third of the burden of road traffic injuries.
* The rate of burden from alcohol use fell slightly between 2003 and 2011 and further reductions are expected by 2020.
* The rate of burden due to amphetamine use is projected to rise by 14% between 2011 and 2020.

Download report: Impact of alcohol and illicit drug use on the burden of disease and injury in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011

Media release:1 in 20 Australian deaths caused by alcohol and illicit drugs.

New guide for health professionals working to close the gap in health equality

Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, has launched the updated third edition of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The guide is a practical resource intended for all health professionals delivering primary healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This edition:

  • equips primary healthcare providers and their teams with a comprehensive and concise set of recommendations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, with additional information about tailoring advice depending on risk and need
  • advises on activities that can help prevent disease, detect early and unrecognised disease, and promote health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, while allowing for local and regional variations.
  • encourages clinicians to consider the social determinants of health when providing preventive healthcare
  • Includes the following new topics and features:
    • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
    • Preventing child maltreatment – supporting families to optimise child safety and wellbeing
    • Family abuse and violence
    • Prevention of lung cancer
    • Young person lifecycle summary wall chart

National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Closing the Gap Report 2018

The Closing the Gap framework was established in 2008 to address Indigenous disadvantage. 10 years on, the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have improved but more gains need to be made. It is clear that continued effort and action is required.

 

The Closing the Gap framework provides an annual national snapshot of progress made against the targets – and helps maintain our collective focus. While acknowledging this, it is important to recognise the success and achievements of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, demonstrating that when equal opportunities are provided, disadvantage can be overcome.

 

The chapters in this report detail the progress made against the seven Closing the Gap targets – and focus on health, education, employment and community safety. They also showcase a range of Indigenous success stories – from inspiring individuals, to growing businesses and organisations making a positive difference to their communities.

 

Closing the Gap Report 2018.

Latest nutrition review confirms that community control is critical to improve the nutritional status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet has published a new Review of nutrition among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It provides detailed information on food, diet and nutritional health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and includes data for diet-related conditions, morbidity, mortality and burden of disease.

This review highlights the importance of nutrition promotion and the prevention of diet-related disease, and provides information on relevant programs, services, policies and strategies that help improve food supply, diet and nutritional health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Media release

Review of nutrition among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Review as PDF

NATSIHWA encourages using a ‘Scope of Practice’ for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association (NATSIHWA) has launched a supportive publication, the National Framework for Determining Scope of Practice for the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Worker and Health Practitioner workforce. The Framework is designed to support Employers and Managers to work with their Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners to establish and define their scope of practice.

Ms Josslyn Tully, Chairperson of NATSIHWA said 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Health Practitioners are vital to improving the health of our peoples. The Framework for developing a Scope of Practice will better enable and support these employees in health services to reach their potential and utilise their skills and capabilities.

Senate inquiry to examine claims Indigenous suicide prevention funding misspent

Claims that funding for Indigenous suicide prevention programs is being spent on travel costs will be examined at Senate inquiry into rural and remote mental health services.

The inquiry was approved in the Senate on Monday with backing from Labor and the Greens and will look at the higher rates of suicide in rural Australia, quality of and access to mental health services in rural and remote Australia, shortfalls in the mental health workforce, and the use of technology and e-health services.

Rural areas have higher rates of suicide than capital cities and the rates of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice the non-Indigenous suicide rate.

Read more at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/19/senate-inquiry-to-examine-claims-indigenous-suicide-prevention-funding-misspent

Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia [AIHW]

The Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia web report presents the latest available data on new cases of type 1 diabetes, insulin-treated type 2 diabetes and insulin-treated gestational diabetes, and is part of the ongoing national reporting using the 2016 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register.

Data visualisations can be explored by age, sex, trends, population groups (Indigenous status, remoteness and socioeconomic groups), and geographic areas (state and territory, Primary Health Network and statistical area level 3) for type 1 diabetes and insulin-treated type 2 diabetes.

Download web report: Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia.

Health Translations : consumer health information for CALD populations.

The Victorian government Health Translations website enables health practitioners and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find translated health information.

* The Health Translations Directory provides direct links to reliable translated health resources produced in Australia. Organisations are responsible for registering their own multilingual resource on the Health Translations Directory.

* Over 14000 resources in over 100 languages and counting : New resources are regularly being added.

* Information can be found in a variety of ways. Search on topics, languages, or organisations.

* Health practitioners and organisations who work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities can use the site to find reliable translated health information, including a unique tool to help identify what language your client speaks.

Causes of death patterns and people's use of aged care

Nearly 245,000 older people (Indigenous Australians aged 50 and over, and non-Indigenous Australians aged 65 and over) died between July 2012 and June 2014. This report presents information on the cause of death patterns, and any aged care services they used before their death. This is the first time this analysis has been done in Australia.

The leading causes of death for these older Australians were Coronary heart disease (14% of deaths), Dementia (9%), Cerebrovascular disease (stroke) (8%), Lung cancer (5%), Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (5%) and Diabetes (3%).

These 6 conditions also account for more than 40% of the total burden of disease for older Australians.

4 in 5 (80%) of people in the study cohort had used an aged care program sometime before their death. Cause of death patterns differed somewhat between this group and people who had not used any aged care.

Coronary heart disease (14%) was the leading underlying cause of death for people who had used aged care, followed by Dementia (11%). For people who had not used aged care, Coronary heart disease was also the leading underlying cause of death (16%), but this was followed by Lung cancer (9%). Cancer-related causes were more common among those who had not used any aged care.

Causes of death patterns and people's use of aged care.

Friday mental health forum: Coping during drought

DROUGHT is not isolated to the northern parts of the country. In fact, the Hunter region has been severely affected of late, and other parts of NSW continue to dry off at a rapid rate.

During Friday’s Friday Forum at 12pm, The Land and the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) are partnering to bring together the Rural Resilience Workers, RAMHP, NSW Farmers and a researcher to answer your questions, including the warning signs someone isn’t coping; how to prepare mentally for drought; signs of depression; practical ways to stay mentally healthy, and getting farmers to talk openly about mental health.

See more at: http://www.theland.com.au/story/5278798/friday-forum-coping-during-drier-times/?cs=5020

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia data visualisations [AIHW]

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a new web report with data visualisations:

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia presents the latest available information on national population screening programs, cancer incidence, survival, prevalence and mortality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, compared with non-Indigenous Australians. Information is available to explore by sex, age, state and territory, remoteness area and trend.

Latest findings:
* Between 2009 and 2013, an average of 1,279 new cancer cases were diagnosed each year in Indigenous Australians
* Between 2011 and 2015, there was an average of 551 cancer-related deaths each year for Indigenous Australians
* In 2007-2014, Indigenous Australians diagnosed with cancer had a 50% relative chance of surviving five years
* In 2009-2013, Indigenous Australians were 1.1 times as likely to be diagnosed with cancer as non-Indigenous Australians
* In 2011-2015, Indigenous Australians were 1.4 times as likely to die from cancer as non-Indigenous Australians
* In 2007-2014, Indigenous Australians had lower five-year relative survival compared with non-Indigenous Australians

Download web report: Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia.

Media release: Indigenous Australians more likely to be affected by cancers associated with preventable risk factors and are 1.4 times as likely to die from cancer as non-Indigenous Australians.

NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service

http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/pharmaceutical/Pages/nsw-cmas.aspx

The NSW Cannabis Medicines Advisory Service provides expert clinical guidance and support to NSW doctors considering prescribing a cannabis medicine for their patient.Based at John Hunter Hospital at Hunter New England Local Health District, the Service offers expert clinical advice to NSW doctors on whether cannabinoids may be an appropriate treatment option for their patient, available clinical evidence, known contraindications and risks, available products, and monitoring requirements.

The Service is part of the NSW Government $21 million commitment to advance our understanding for the safe and appropriate use of cannabis medicines to treat serious and debilitating symptoms. It is available to NSW doctors and health care professionals. It is operational Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm snd can be contacted by email HNELHD-CMAS@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au<mailto:HNELHD-CMAS@hnehealth.nsw.gov.au or by telephone (02) 4923 6200.

The Service can assist with:

* understanding the latest evidence around cannabis medicines
* understanding the regulatory requirements for cannabis prescription
* considering tools to monitor a patient's progress whilst using cannabis medicines
* provision of protocols to facilitate cannabis medicine prescribing
* information about dosing and titration in individual patients

NSW Mothers and Babies Report 2016

This nineteenth annual report documents findings on the number of births across NSW and provides information on recent trends in the health of mothers and babies in NSW, maternity services provided by hospitals, clinical indicators and the health of Aboriginal mothers and babies.​

10,000 steps a day keeps the blues away

New research published in BMC Psychiatry reveals that walking 10,000 steps a day, over the course of 100 days, can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing, weight loss, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

In one of the largest health studies carried out at a workplace, two thousand participants in the Stepathlon, a corporate wellness challenge dedicated to achieving better physical and mental health outcomes, reveals consistent and positive impacts on all measures of mental health.

Read more at: https://www.myvmc.com/news/10000-steps-day-keeps-blues-away/

Brain scans show why people get aggressive after a drink or two

Researchers have used magnetic resonance imaging scans that measure blood flow in the brain to better understand why people often become aggressive and violent after drinking alcohol.

After only two drinks, the researchers noted changes in the working of the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part normally involved in tempering a person's levels of aggression.

The study, led by Associate Professor Thomas Denson of the UNSW School of Psychology, is published in the journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, which is an official journal of the Psychonomic Society and is published by Springer.

In this study, Denson and his team recruited 50 healthy young men. The participants were either given two drinks containing vodka, or placebo drinks without any alcohol. While lying in an MRI scanner, the participants then had to compete in a task which has regularly been used over the past 50 years to observe levels of aggression in response to provocation.

Read more at:https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/science-tech/brain-scans-show-why-people-get-aggressive-after-drink-or-two

Gonorrhoea 'super-superbugs' triple in six months

Cases of a strain of gonorrhoea impervious to an antibiotic have almost tripled in six months, the latest report from the National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistance (CARAlert) reveals.

The result was a “warning shot across the bow” for doctors and public health officials fighting antibiotic resistance, CARAlert’s senior medical adviser said.A total of 742 reports of critically resistant bacteria were collected by the early-warning system from 65 laboratories nationwide between April and September last year, a 75 per cent rise on the 423 cases reported in the same period during 2016.

Read more at:http://www.smh.com.au/national/gonorrhoea-super-superbugs-triple-in-six-months-20180212-p4z01e.html

All complications should count (Grattan Institute)

1 in 9 patients who go into hospital suffers a complication, and the risk varies dramatically depending on the hospital. An extra 250,000 patients would leave hospital complication-free each year if all hospitals lifted their performance to match the best 10 per cent of hospitals.

This report exposes the flaws in Australian hospitals' safety and quality monitoring regime, and recommends reforms that could result in an extra 250,000 patients leaving hospital each year free of complications.

At the moment, hospital safety policies focus on only a small subset of complications classified by government as being 'preventable'. Instead policy should be directed towards reducing all complications to the best rate achievable. This requires building up a comprehensive picture of patient outcomes, and understanding how some hospitals and clinical teams reduce all complications and achieve excellent outcomes.

Report: All complications should count.

Media release.

10-year review of the Closing the Gap Strategy released

This review assesses the most significant national effort to date to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health: the 2008 Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) Closing the Gap Strategy with its target to achieve life expectancy (health) equality by 2030.10-years after its commencement, it is time to critically reflect on why Australian governments have not yet succeeded in closing the health gap to date, and why they will not succeed by 2030 if the current course continues.

In fact, a December 2017 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report found the mortality and life expectancy gaps are actually widening due to accelerating non-Indigenous population gains in these areas.

The COAG Closing the Gap Strategy was developed by Australian governments following their signing of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent from March 2008 onwards. The Close the Gap Statement of Intent is, first, a compact between Australian governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Second, it embodies a human right to health-based blueprint for achieving health equality referred to hereon as the 'close the gap approach'.

CTG 10 year review and Executive Summary.

Royal Australasian College of Physicians response.

Public Health Association of Australia: Close the Gap Strategy continues to fall short.

Hospitalised farm injury, Australia: 2010-11 to 2014-15 [AIHW]

Hospitalised farm injury, Australia: 2010-11 to 2014-15.

This injury report provides information on hospitalisations as a result of injury which occurred on a farm.

The report finds:

* Almost 22,000 people were hospitalised in the period 2010-11 to 2014-15 as a result of injury which occurred on a farm
* Injuries involving motorcycles and quad bikes on farm accounted for 42% of all hospitalisations in children aged 0-14
* Injuries involving horses accounted for 16% of hospitalisations in children aged 0-14, 80% of which involved girls

AMA 2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health (Otitis media focus)

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is reported to suffer the highest rates of otitis media in the world. This unacceptably high prevalance has been known for at least 60 years.

The 2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health identifies chronic otitis media as a 'missing piece of the puzzle for Indigenous disadvantage' and calls for an end to the preventable scourge on the health of Indigenous Australians.

Otis media is a build up of fluid in the middle ear cavity, which can become infected. While the condition lasts, mild or moderate hearing loss is experienced. Otitis media is very common in children and for most non-Indigenous children, is readily treated. But for many Indigenous people, otitis media is not adequately treated. It persists in chronic forms over months and years.

This Report Card calls for a national, systematic approach to closing the gap in the rates of chronic otitis media between Indigenous and non-Indigenous infants and children in Australia, and a response to the lasting, disabling effects and social impacts of chronic otitis media in the Indigenous adult population.

2017 Report Card on Indigenous Health

Press release.

Rural Suicide and its Prevention (CRRMH)

In 2016, the number of suicides per 100,000 people in rural and remote Australia was 50% higher than in the cities. This rate gets higher as areas become more remote and has been growing more rapidly than in the cities. The rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is twice that for non-Indigenous people.

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health believes that 5 focus areas are needed to address this situation. Two are for immediate action to prevent suicide deaths (now and into the future) and three are designed to prevent deaths in the future. The prevention of rural suicide is not the sole responsibility of health services or of mental health services. There are important roles for governments, private sector, health and welfare institutions, rural and remote communities, and individuals.

Rural Suicide and its Prevention: a CRRMH position paper.

Summary - Rural Suicide and its Prevention: a CRRMH Prevention Paper.

Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence prevention framework for men and boys

Towards an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander violence prevention framework for men and boys was developed by a knowledge circle of recognised experts, including health workers, researchers and community members. It was supported by White Ribbon Australia and published by the Healing Foundation.

The report found higher than average rates of family violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can be linked to specific factors such as Intergenerational Trauma, the destruction of positive cultural practices and ongoing disadvantage.

The report promotes 6 critical factors proven to lead to long term success for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, by studying programs at Dardi and others in WA, NSW and the Northern Territory. The report also calls for programs to involve an historic context and focus on healing families and communities collectively, co-designing programs with community and supporting strong men into mentoring roles.

Report.

Press release.

Trends in Indigenous mortality and life expectancy 2001–2015: evidence from the enhanced mortality database

This report examines Indigenous mortality and life expectancy during the period 2001 to 2015, based on evidence from the Enhanced Mortality Database. The study observed increases in life expectancy during the study period for both Indigenous males and females across most jurisdictions. Life expectancy however increased faster among non-Indigenous than among Indigenous males and females. As a result, there was little change in the life expectancy gap.

Report page.

WayAhead: Access more than 5000 mental health and related services for free


The WayAhead Directory is a searchable online database that anyone in the community can use to access local mental health and related services. These services also include community support organisations, legal, employment and recreation services and information resources when and where they're needed.

Currently, the WayAhead Directory lists information on more than 5,600 mental health and other related services. Search results are determined by location and can be filtered by demographic subgroups, types of services and more.

The WayAhead Directory.

Spinal cord injury, Australia:7 new AIHW reports:

Spinal cord injury from traumatic causes imposes a heavy physical, psychological and economic burden on the injured people, their families and society, because it often results in a high level of long-term disability and morbidity and in increased mortality risk.

This collection of reports provides data from 2008-09 to 2013-14 on the incidence of traumatic spinal cord injury, the people injured, the care provided to them, and the causes of the injuries. Each reporting year is covered in its own report, and, in addition, the older years of data are summarised in Spinal cord injury, Australia: summary 2008-09 to 2012-13.

The latest report shows that in 2013-14, 236 new incident cases of spinal cord injury due to external causes were reported to the Australian Spinal Cord Injury Register. Males accounted for 81% of traumatic spinal cord injury cases. Land transport crashes (46%) were the leading mechanism of injury followed by falls (32%). Nearly half (45%) occurred while the person was engaged in a sport or leisure activity.

Spinal cord injury, Australia: summary 2008-09 to 2012-13.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2008-09.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2009-10.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2010-11.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2011-12

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2012-13.

Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2013-14.

Medicines for cardiovascular disease [AIHW]

Cardiovascular medicines are key elements in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease. This bulletin uses data on supply, general practitioner (GP) prescriptions, use and expenditure to highlight that cardiovascular medicines are most commonly used to help control levels of blood pressure and blood lipids, such as cholesterol.


Key findings:

* Over 100 million Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme/Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescriptions for cardiovascular medicines were dispensed to the Australian community in 2015. These comprised one-third (34%) of the total prescription medicines dispensed.

* Blood pressure lowering medicines (such as perindopril and irbesartan) and blood cholesterol lowering medicines (such as atorvastatin and rosuvastatin) were the most commonly dispensed prescription medicines in Australia in 2015.

* Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of all medications prescribed by GPs in 2015-16 were for the cardiovascular system, at a rate of 9.4 per 100 problems managed. Many of these prescriptions included orders for repeats.

* Almost three-quarters (72%) of the estimated 4.1 million Australians who reported having a cardiovascular condition in 2014-15 had used a cardiovascular system medicine in the previous fortnight.

Medicines for cardiovascular disease