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Friday, 31 July 2015

Suicide and suicidal behaviour in women

Suicide Prevention Australia has just published a report which looks at the data relating to suicide and suicidal behaviour in women. Suicide and suicidal behaviour in women – issues and prevention outlines the risk factors, the impact of attitudes about gender and the policy environment.

The key findings include the fact that women have higher rates of suicidal behaviour than men - that includes planning and attempting suicide. In 2013, 637 women died by suicide in Australia, and it especially effects younger women, and where there has been a reduction in suicides for young men since the 1990's, this has not been the case for young women.

Hanging is the most commonly used method of suicide for women (as it is for men) with poisoning by drugs being second most common. The number of women aged 15 - 24 years who injured themselves so severely that they require hospital treatment has increased by more than 50 per cent since 2000. The issue of self-injury is discussed as an important indicator for women's health.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey

The latest report on antimicrobial prescribing practices provides important information about the rate and appropriateness of antimicrobial use in Australian hospitals.

The report, National Antimicrobial Prescribing Practice: results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS), was released by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

The 2014 report summarises the results of a voluntary annual audit of 248 hospitals (197 public and 51 private) from across Australia. This resulted in a data set of almost 20,000 prescriptions.

The report shows:

  • Approximately one-quarter (24.3%) of the 19,944 prescriptions surveyed were non-compliant with guidelines, and 23% were deemed to be inappropriate.
  • Only 74% of antimicrobials prescribed had their indications documented in the medical notes (more than 95% is considered best practice).
  • Surgical prophylaxis continues to be an issue with 35.9% of the survey prescriptions continuing beyond 24 hours (less than 5% is considered best practice). 2% of prescriptions for surgical prophylaxis were also considered inappropriate, mainly due to incorrect duration and dose, and absence of an indication for an antimicrobial.
  • Infective exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was poorly prescribed (36.8% were deemed inappropriate), as were other respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis (50.7% inappropriate) and exacerbation of asthma (70.0% inappropriate).
  • The most common prescribed antimicrobials were cephazolin, ceftriaxone and metronidazole.

Antimicrobial prescribing practice in Australian hospitals: Results of the 2014 National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (Report)

Press Release

Monday, 27 July 2015

Latest Research from the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing

Vol. 32, No. 4 2015 of the Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing is now available free online :

Feature articles include

* Doctoral these in nursing and midwifery

* Enhancing the online nursing experience using virtual classrooms.

* A nurse communication manager reduces the number of non-relevant contacts.

* Advanced skills for enrolled nurses: a developing classification.

* Registered nurses improving screening rates for non AIDS related comorbidities in people living with HIV.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Electroconvulsive Therapy: New ultra-brief depression treatment 'more effective', with 'fewer side effects', research shows

Researchers say a new type of short-pulse Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) could treat thousands of Australians who suffer from severe and treatment-resistant depression more effectively than standard procedures.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, has been described as one of the most significant developments in depression treatment in decades.

The first analysis of a new type of ultra-brief ECT has found the shorter procedure is effective and has fewer cognitive side effects than standard ECT.

See more at:

Indigenous mental health: leaders to tackle 'most confronting challenge'

Three federal government ministers will sit down with Indigenous leaders and mental health advocates on Wednesday to tackle Indigenous mental health, which they say is the nation's "most confronting health challenge".

Health Minister Sussan Ley, Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion will meet 17 mental health advocates and seven respected Indigenous health leaders at Parliament House to discuss reducing the suicide rates of Indigenous people and associated mental health issues.

"The focus of the roundtable will be on how we can best reduce the incidence of mental health conditions and suicide, and improve social and emotional wellbeing among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," Senator Scullion said.

Read more:

Spatial variation in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's access to primary health care

The report shows that overall, Australian Government funded Indigenous-specific primary health-care services appear to be well positioned relative to the geographic distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to the distribution of other GP services. However, there are a number of areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have very limited access to both Indigenous-specific services and GP services in general.

The report includes maps and analyses that identify areas where critical service gaps exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with respect to their access to primary health care. It also examines the types of services provided by ISPHCS, with a specific focus on maternal health services and diabetes management.

See more at:

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Pain management resources

1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain, with the prevalence increasing to one in three for people aged over 65 years. The incidence of chronic pain is greater in rural areas due to the physically demanding nature of work and the lack of effective, timely care for acute pain.

Pain is the most common reason people seek medical help. The incidence of chronic pain is higher in rural and remote areas due to the physically demanding nature of work and the lack of effective, timely care for acute pain. Painaustralia has put togther a collection of key education and training resources on pain management for health professional's and those living with chronic pain.

Fact sheet: "Chronic pain-a major issue in rural Australia (National Rural Health Alliance)

Monday, 6 July 2015

Palliative care training modules

The AHHA has launched an expanded palliative care online information and training portal, with new training materials and extensive resources.

Two new free online training modules launched on July 1 build on the success of the AHHA's first four online units on community based palliative aged care. All six units are now available at no cost, at

The Pain Management module examines pain from a holistic perspective, and provides insights into discussing, assessing, treating and managing client pain. The module Recognising Deteriorating Clients assists with managing the many diverse and complex aspects of end of life care involving clients, carers and family members.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Mental health patients in rural areas could wait months to see psychologists due to problems with Primary Health Networks

Mental health patients in rural and regional areas could wait months to see psychologists because of problems with the Government's new Primary Health Networks (PHNs), former employees claim.

Several former staff from Medicare Locals have contacted the ABC and said patients in rural and regional areas are being told they will have to wait months to see psychologists, because service contracts for the new organisations have not been signed.

See more at:

NACCHO begins production on Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands video series

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) has begun work on a 20 episode series that will highlight how investing in Aboriginal community controlled health will lead to generational change, and will contribute to closing the gap.

Aboriginal health in Aboriginal hands for health futures will showcase the members of the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) on the role and function ACCHOs are making in the health system, and towards the Close the gap initiative, to improve understandings of the purpose of the ACCHOs for politicians, bureaucrats, the general public and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

See more at:

Monday, 29 June 2015

Anytime Fitness fundraiser fit to boost mental health prospects

Centre for Rural And Remote Mental Health executive officer of programs Trevor Hazell and Anytime Fitness manager Megan Griffin hope a recent treadmill challenge can make meaningful change for those living with mental illness.

ANYTIME Fitness manager Megan Griffin knows the benefit of exercise for those living with mental illness. Ms Griffin lives with anxiety herself and is passionate about helping people manage their mental health issues.

See more at:

Focus on illicit drugs puts Australia’s drinking problem on ice

Recent discussions of Australia’s “ice epidemic” have culminated in a A$9 million government-funded media campaign to raise community awareness of the drug’s harms, particularly in rural areas. We do need to address the harms of illicit drugs, but, in doing so, we mustn’t overlook the greater social impact of excessive alcohol consumption.

A number of commentators have cautioned about the possible negative effects of government fear-mongering on parents, families and communities. Experts have also highlighted the substantial evidence that drug education campaigns are, at best, ineffective and, at worst, encourage experimentation.

See more at:

Mental health reform too slow, say some experts

It's been 8 months since the Government received a major report on Australia's mental health failings. PM understands a failure of mental health experts to agree on all the recommendations has held up crucial reform.

The Health Minister has ordered a separate review of the report's recommendations. Many in the mental health sector are frustrated by what they say are unacceptable delays to improving care for suicidal Australians.

Poorly planned, and a massive drain on people's wellbeing. Those were the findings of a National Mental Health Commission report ordered by the Federal Government to look at Australia's mental health system.

See more at:

Preventing Aboriginal maternal smoking WA portal

The Preventing Aboriginal maternal smoking WA (PAMSWA) portal aims to address the gap in accessing coordinated services and resources for health professionals addressing maternal smoking among pregnant Aboriginal women in WA, whose smoking rates are reported at being four times higher than non-Indigenous women.

The free to access portal provides quality information about smoking cessation and prevention to support better health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, their babies and families with the selection of content carefully evaluated to ensure it is culturally appropriate and promotes best practice methods and strategies available for working with pregnant Aboriginal women.

The portal also links to the Preventing Aboriginal maternal smoking WA yarning place to encourage information sharing and collaboration among health professionals and others involved in maternal health among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Ultimately, the portal will create a solid knowledge base about Aboriginal maternal smoking and establish the site as the 'go-to' place for any information, resources, training opportunities and support for health professionals who work with pregnant Aboriginal women and their families, advancing Aboriginal maternal and child health outcomes.

Preventing Aboriginal Smoking WA portal

Press release

Friday, 26 June 2015

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Organisations report

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health organisations: Online Services Report - key results 2013-14.

The report includes details on:

  • 203 organisations provided primary health-care services to around 419,000 clients through 4.6 million client contacts
  • 189 counsellors provided social and emotional wellbeing or Link Up counselling services to around 16,600 clients through 88,200 client contacts
  • 56 organisations provided substance-use rehabilitation and treatment services to around 43,000 clients through 371,000 episodes of care.
  • Download the full report for free online.