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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Nurses in Focus reveals a rise in number of older nurses working in Australia

There are an increasing number of older nurses in the workforce in recent years, HWA's Nurses in focus report has found. Released this month, Nurses in focus is a comprehensive analysis of Australia's nursing workforce.

Some of the key trends which emerged in Nurses in focus include:

* The percentage of registered nurses aged 55 and over increased from 15% in 2003 to 20% in 2009.

* Nursing continues to be a female dominated profession, with men accounting for only 10% of employed nurses.

* Most nurses work in hospitals, but there is an increasing emphasis on community care.

Health Workforce by Numbers

Health Workforce by Numbers, A Health Workforce Australia (HWA) publication, features information from a variety of sources on the characteristics and numbers of medical practitioners, nurses and midwives, oral health practitioners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and selected allied health workers.

The publication is aimed at health workforce planners and is part of Australia's Health Workforce Series, which aims to increase understanding of the existing medical, nursing and allied health workforces.

Senate committee releases report on the social determinants of health

The Senate Community Affairs Committee (Senate committee) have released a report Australia's domestic response to the World Health Organization's (WHO)Commission on Social Determinants of Health report "Closing the gap within a generation". The inquiry comprised of 68 public submissions from organisations and individuals and 4 public hearings.

The report makes 5 recommendations:

* the government adopt the WHO report and commit to addressing the social determinants of health relevant to the Australian context

* the government adopt administrative practices that ensure consideration of the social determinants of health in all relevant policy development activities, particularly in relation to education, employment, housing, family, and social security policy

* the government place responsibility for addressing social determinants of health within one agency, with a mandate to address issues across portfolios

* the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) give greater emphasis in its grant allocation priorities to research on public health and social determinants research

* annual progress reports to parliament be a key requirement of the body tasked with responsibility for addressing the social determinants of health.

Press release

Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010-11 (AIHW)

Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2010-11

In 2010-11, health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was estimated at $4.6 billion, or 3.7% of Australia's total recurrent health expenditure. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population comprised 2.5% of the Australian population at this time. Expenditure equated to $7,995 per Indigenous person, which was 1.47 times greater than the $5,437 spent per non-Indigenous Australian in the same year. Governments funded 91.4% of health expenditure for Indigenous people, compared with 68.1% for non-Indigenous people.

Media release

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Geographic distribution of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease hospitalisations in Australia: 2007-08 to 2009-10 (AIHW)

Geographic distribution of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease hospitalisations in Australia: 2007-08 to 2009-10 investigates how hospitalisation rates for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) vary across Australia. Maps in the report show higher hospitalisation rates for both asthma and COPD in inland and rural areas of Australia. Socioeconomic status, remoteness and the proportion of the population that identifies as Indigenous all have a significant association with the hospitalisation rates for asthma and COPD by area.

Media release

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 reports (AIHW)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 report: New South Wales

This report shows, for example, that death rates for avoidable causes and circulatory diseases have declined in NSW since 2001, but almost half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers smoke during pregnancy and unemployment rates continue to remain higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 report: Queensland

This report provides the latest information on how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland are faring according to a range of indicators on health status, determinants of health and health system performance. Indicators are based on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework. The report highlights the main areas of improvement and continuing concern. For example, while death rates for avoidable causes and circulatory diseases have declined since 2001, just over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers smoke during pregnancy and there has been no improvement in incidence rates of treated end-stage renal disease in recent years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 report: Victoria

This report shows, for example, that while health assessments in Victoria have increased significantly and immunisation coverage for Indigenous children is similar to non-Indigenous children by the age of 2, the incidence of treated end-stage renal disease is 4 times the rate for non-Indigenous Australians and unemployment rates continue to remain higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 report: South Australia

This report shows, for example, that while death rates in South Australia for Indigenous infants and Indigenous people of all ages have declined since 1991, more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers smoke during pregnancy and unemployment rates continue to remain higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 report: Western Australia

This report shows, for example, that while death rates for avoidable causes and circulatory diseases have declined since 1997 in Western Australia, about half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers smoke during pregnancy and there has been no improvement in incidence rates of treated end-stage renal disease in recent years.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Survey seeks Western NSW carers of people with a disability

A first of its kind study in Australia is highlighting the impact of vast geographical distances and a shortage of therapists on the decisions rural carers of people with a disability make about whether to move or to stay in regional areas.

According to Faculty of Health Sciences researchers involved in the University of Sydney's 'Wobbly Hub and Double Spokes' research project therapy service delivery can be problematic for people with a disability living in rural areas. The survey, which is divided into 5 sections, is exploring the current access to therapy services including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology and psychology and has so far attracted 125 respondents from western NSW.

The study may be taken here : http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WHCarersSurvey

Breast cancer survivors who cut short preventative treatment 'risk early death'

Women who stop taking tamoxifen tablets to prevent breast cancer returning before the end of the recommended 5 years risk an earlier death, according to research.

A study carried out on nearly 3,400 women in Tayside, Scotland, found that only half who had been given tamoxifen, or one of a class of newer antihormone drugs called aromatase inhibitors, after breast cancer treatment were still taking the pills at the end of 5 years. Some had stopped; others reduced the dose. Those who had given up after three years were 3 times more likely to die of breast cancer, during the follow-up period of the study, than those who took the pills for 80% of the time for all 5 years.

Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence

Making Health Care Safer II: An Updated Critical Analysis of the Evidence for Patient Safety Practices by PG Shekelle and others, has been published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the US. In 2001 the AHRQ published its first report, and this 955p follow-up has been co-authored by many of the original researchers, and has some important additions.

After analyzing 41 patient safety practices, an international panel of patient safety experts identified 22 strategies that are ready for adoption. Enough evidence exists that health systems and institutions can move forward in implementing these strategies to improve the safety and quality of health care.

A special supplement to the Annals of Internal Medicine features 10 articles on selected patient safety strategies featured in Making Health Care Safer II, so this makes a good summary source. It includes articles on healthcare associated infection, falls prevention, medication safety and end of life care.

Access this issue via CIAP or contact your health library for access to the full text. Annals of Internal Medicine 5 March 2013 158(5 pt 2), "Making health care safer : a critical review of evidence supporting strategies to improve patient safety".

Republished from NCAHS Library Clippings

Friday, 22 March 2013

AHRQ Releases Toolkit to Reduce Hospital Readmissions

Every year millions of patients are readmitted to hospitals, and many of those stays could have been prevented.

The Re-Engineered Discharge (RED)Toolkit, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, can help hospitals reduce readmission rates by replicating the discharge process that resulted in 30% fewer hospital readmissions and emergency room visits.

Developed by the Boston University Medical Center, the newly expanded toolkit provides guidance to implement the RED for all patients, including those with limited English proficiency and from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

MyJointPain.org.au : Australian-first solution for osteoarthritis sufferers

Millions of Australians battling with osteoarthritis and joint pain will benefit from the launch of a world first, easy-to-use website which offers people a chance to help gain control over their pain.

During Arthritis Awareness Week (17 - 23 March 2013) the almost 3 million Australians (8% of the population) living with osteoarthritis are being encouraged to register at www.MyJointPain.org.au and take an active role in the management of their condition.

MyJointPain.org.au was developed as a result of a unique collaboration between Arthritis Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation. The website and online tools are based on the combined knowledge of a committee of medical and scientific experts in key areas of surgical, scientific, allied health, medical and consumer advocacy to provide leading advice for osteoarthritis care.

Will It Work Here? A Decisionmaker's Guide to Adopting Innovations

This Guide Presented by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality helps users determine if an innovation would be a "good fit" or an "appropriate stretch" for their health care organization by asking a series of questions.

It links users to actionable Web-based tools and presents case studies that illustrate how other organizations have addressed these questions. Users will be able to answer the four overarching questions the Guide poses:


*Does this innovation fit?
*Should we do it here?
*Can we do it here?
*How can we do it here?

On the AHRC Innovations Exchange there is also available "How To Think About Evidence When Deciding Whether To Adopt an Innovation".

The DementiaCare Resource and Training Network

The DementiaCare Resource and Training Network is an online interactive web-based dementia education and resource site facilitated by local dementia experts who are supported by the DementiaCare team. The Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) DementiaCare team hosts the program state-wide and is responsible for the development and deployment of this resource to clinicians across NSW. It is funded by NSW Ministry of Health under the Dementia Services Framework.

There are currently two online courses:

*a twelve week Acute Care of the Older Person aimed at Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurses and Allied Health staff
*a four-week Person Centred Care in the Community aimed at Assistants in Nursing and Personal Care attendants.

The courses are suitable for staff working in acute, community or residential aged care settings. Both courses are offered free to NSW Health staff. The program is applicable and accessible across all settings especially in rural remote areas.

Learners can access the program online 24 hours a day in their own time, at their own pace within the 4 or 12 week period, from home or work. The courses are made up of lessons, quizzes, forum posts and real time online chats.

If you would like more information about undertaking the courses or becoming a facilitator please contact the Dementia Care team on support.dementiacare@ncahs.health.nsw.gov.au or visit the DementiaCare Resource and Training Network Website.

Gastroenterology, Malnutrition and Nutritional Support

From 2013, the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics publishes Virtual Issues, which are collections of related articles, offered as free access.

The first of these virtual issues is on Gastroenterology, Malnutrition and Nutritional Support and features articles on cancers of the GI tract, inflammatory bowel disease and enteral feeding.

The site also features the British Dietetic Association evidence-based guidelines for the dietary management of irritable bowel syndrome in adults .

Stroke and Occupational Therapy

The Australian Occupational Therapy Journal has published a free virtual issue on Stroke and Occupational Therapy.

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2010-11: state and territory findings (AIHW)

Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2010-11: state and territory findings

About 700 agencies provide treatment for alcohol and other drug issues in Australia, and three-quarters of these agencies are in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Most of the closed episodes provided in 2010-11 were for clients receiving treatment for their own drug use, and alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in most states and territories. Counselling was the most common main treatment type.

Rheumatic heart disease and acute rheumatic fever in Australia: 1996-2012 (AIHW)

Rheumatic heart disease and acute rheumatic fever in Australia: 1996-2012 examines and presents a range of data on acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Australia. It shows that ARF now occurs almost exclusively in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and that the prevalence of RHD is much higher among Indigenous people than other Australians. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also considerably more likely to be hospitalised with ARF or RHD, and to die from RHD.

Media release

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Borderline Personality Disorder

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler has launched a new guide to assist health professionals to recognise and treat Borderline Personality Disorder. The Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Borderline Personality Disorder was developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council(NHMRC) at the Government's request.

Mr Butler said Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) was the most serious and common of the personality disorders, affecting adolescents and adults. The new guideline will complement the Government's record $2.2 billion investment in better mental health services, including through the Partners in Recovery initiative which is of particular relevance for those with a lived experience of BPD. Mr Butler said the new guide was designed to improve understanding and recognition of BPD in health services and in the broader community. It includes 63 recommendations on diagnosis, management, and treatment and information for carers and families.

Media release

Glovebox guide to mental health

The Land's "Glovebox guide to mental health" seeks to address the increased incidence of suicide and mental health problems amongst men in rural and remote areas. The emphasis of the guide is on recognising the signs of depression and other mental health conditions, and on how to seek help even though one's location may be remote from mental health professionals.

"The Land's" mental health links

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Wellbeing of Young Australians

The second Report Card: The Wellbeing of Young Australians, reveals Australia is performing poorly against several important indicators. It highlights that in spite of much rhetoric about the wellbeing of our kids, in too many areas, we have not budged in 5 years. Produced by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), the Report Card brings together the most reliable measurements available on 46 indicators, and compares tangible measures of child and youth wellbeing with the average of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Key findings:

* Australia is "middle of the road" - ranked in the top third of OECD countries for only 12 out of 46 indicators.
* Australia is ranked relatively poorly when it comes to preventing childhood deaths from injuries - 22nd out of 34 OECD countries.
* Australia ranks 22nd on infant mortality and 29th for rates of some infant vaccinations to prevent disease.
* Teenage pregnancy rates are higher than the OECD average, with Australia ranked 22nd out of 34 OECD countries.
* Nearly 30% of young people aged 15-24 years are overweight or obese and more than half (57%) lead sedentary lifestyles.
* Most children do not eat the recommended levels of fruit and vegetables.
* Australia fares well when compared to other OECD nations on rates of youth smoking (7% smoke daily) but less favourably for use of illicit drugs (18% using illicit drugs).
* Rates of youth suicide are declining but we are still ranked only 20th of 33 OECD countries. More than one in 10 young people suffer high levels of psychological distress.
* Indigenous rates of psychological distress and suicide are close to 3 times the national average.
* School achievement is relatively positive for 15 year olds but below average for primary school reading, maths and science.
* Youth unemployment is increasing despite our strong economy. 1 in 6 young people are not in education or in employment.
* The gap between rich and poor is increasing as is the percentage of young children living in jobless families. Over 1 in 6 children lived at or below the poverty line in 2010.

According to leading authority on early childhood, June McLoughlin, the Report Card reinforces ARACY's position that policies aimed at young people need to be evidence-based, and more support for the early years is required. "It is incomprehensible we are in the bottom third for income inequality - which in the past the World Bank and the World Health Organisation have calculated as a key predictor of life expectancy; and that with preschool age children having access to early learning, we are 30th out of 34 OECD nations." "This is one of the key gaps revealed by the Report Card - we under-invest in the early years, which are proven to be critical in maximising the potential of our children and making them ready for school. There is abundant evidence that proven early learning programs track through to better school performance later on."

Links page for report and technical report

Unattractive side to new portrait of young people (Sydney Morning Herald)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dementia care in hospitals: costs and strategies (AIHW)

Dementia care in hospitals: costs and strategies estimates the cost of caring for people with dementia in New South Wales hospitals, and presents strategies and practices being implemented in Australia and internationally that might improve outcomes for people with dementia and reduce care costs.

The average cost of hospital care for people with dementia was generally higher than for people without dementia ($7,720 compared with $5,010 per episode). The total cost of hospital care for these patients was estimated to be $462.9 million, of which around $162.5 million may be associated with dementia.

Media release

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Healthy Communities : Australians' experience with primary health care in 2010-11

The second National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) Healthy Communities report, Australians' experience with primary health care in 2010-11, has been released. The report confirms that where people live "has a noticeable impact on whether they will get (GP) care when they need it, within acceptable waiting times, and at a price they can afford". There is also great intra-area variation. However, the findings also show that when patients do get in to see a GP, their perceptions of care can be quite positive.

For most measures, the results are broken down into the 61 geographic areas that are covered by the new network of Medicare Locals, which were set up in 2011 to improve responsiveness, co-ordination and integration of health services. Where possible, results are broken down by still smaller geographic areas. The report examines use, patient experiences and the perceived health of populations living in each Medicare Local area against a range of indicators, including:

* GP attendances
* Measures of patient experiences
* Wait times for GP services
* After-hours GP service utilisation.

NHPA: The methods are good, but the findings grim (NRHA)

Facing the Health of Australians : Australians in diabetes denial despite national epidemic

Australians continue to disregard the impact diabetes and obesity will have on their future health, despite the number of Australians affected by both conditions reaching epidemic proportions, according to one of the largest studies assessing community attitudes to health, released by The Australian Medicines Industry.

The report, Facing the Health of Australians, paints a national picture of community opinions on health and major disease. It shows Australians are largely indifferent towards diabetes and major associated risk factor obesity. Less than 10% rate diabetes as a future health concern for themselves and their children (6.8% and 6.3% respectively), and even fewer cite obesity (5.6%) as an issue of concern for themselves, despite an alarming 42% admitting to leading sedentary lifestyles and those with children ranking lack of healthy diet among their greatest worries for their children, second only to accident or injury.

News release

The Fifth Army : Mental health support goes mobile











A new mobile phone app is aiming to give young people experiencing mental health issues some hope. The app is the creation of Headspace, a national youth mental health foundation, which specifically targets young people with mental health issues. Titled "The Fifth Army" the app is about engaging young people between the ages of 18 and 25. It focuses on three main issues of concern for that age group, bullying, homophobia and depression.

Headspace chief operating officer Chris Tanti says the mobile app is the ideal way to get young people engaged with the issues. Mr Tanti says with suicide being the leading cause of death among Australians under the age of 25, getting the message out about mental health is vital.

Mental health support goes mobile (ABC)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Renewing the national strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' mental health and social emotional wellbeing

The Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) is leading the renewal of the National strategic framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' mental health and social emotional wellbeing (2004-2009). The Social Policy Research Centre (UNSW), in partnership with Nulungu Research Institute, has been contracted to undertake the development of the renewed Framework.

It is important that the renewed Framework reflects the ideas and thoughts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. As such, the Social Policy Research Centre and Nulungu Research Institute are seeking your feedback and comments on the renewed Framework. There are two ways you can have input into the development of the renewed Framework:

*read the linked Discussion paper and complete a submission
*attend a consultation in a location near you.

Information, submissions, consultations and contact details.

National core maternity indicators (AIHW)

National core maternity indicators is the first report of ten national core maternity indicators for monitoring the quality of maternity care in Australia.

National rates have decreased for smoking in pregnancy, episiotomy among women having their first baby and giving birth vaginally and the proportion of babies born weighing less than 2,750 grams at or after 40 weeks. However for some indicators, including induction of labour, caesarean section and instrumental vaginal birth, rates have increased and point to areas for possible further attention.

Media release

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Aged Care Workforce 2012: final report (DOHA)

The Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey informs workforce planning on issues surrounding the recruitment and retention, training and education, carer development and employment conditions of the aged care workforce. It provides a comprehensive profile of the aged care workforce which spans almost a decade.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Minister launches first rural generalist training program for NSW

In a first for NSW, Health Minister Jillian Skinner has launched a program which will address the shortage of skilled doctors in rural and regional areas of the state. Mrs Skinner launched the inaugural NSW Rural Generalist Training Program (RGTP) alongside the NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Health, Melinda Pavey, and the program's facilitators, mentors and participants.

Mrs Skinner said the program is an innovative, exciting initiative which will provide career pathways for new doctors to become rural General Practitioners (GPs) with additional advanced skills in at least one clinical discipline.

"Put simply what this program will deliver is more doctors for rural and regional areas. In 2013, these training positions at Tamworth, Maitland, Griffith, Wagga Wagga, Moruya, Nowra, Orange, Dubbo and Bathurst will help address shortages of general practitioners with advance procedural skills in rural areas," Mrs Skinner said.

NSW Rural Generalist Training Program : Applications and Information

Press Release

Young rural doctors training program welcomed (Stuart Riley : FWLHD)

The Angry Summer : weather extremes put lives at risk

A new report on extreme weather events, The Angry Summer, from the Climate Commission demonstrates the health and well being of Australians is increasingly at risk from extreme weather events that are being amplified by global warming.

The Climate and Health Alliance, a coalition of public health, medical, nursing, allied health professionals, health research institutions and service providers, said the Commission's report highlighted how extraordinary weather extremes were putting more lives at risk, particularly the latest summer with the entire Southern Hemisphere experiencing the hottest December and January ever. Climate and Health Alliance Convenor Fiona Armstrong said the record breaking heatwave in which Australia recorded its first ever average maximum of 40.3C on 7 January 2013 posed the most serious threat to health, but lives were also lost in recent bushfires and flooding following extreme rainfall.

Press Release

Monday, 4 March 2013

Positive findings in some areas of Indigenous health (AIHW)

Health trends among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are improving in some areas, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The report, Healthy for Life: results for July 2007- June 2011, shows rises in average birthweight, drops in maternal drinking and smoking, and increases in the proportion of clients with health assessments and care plans.

Some key findings are that the average birthweight of babies at Healthy for Life services increased from 3,015 to 3,131 grams between the reporting periods ending in June 2008 and June 2011. Over the same period, the proportion of clients who had health assessments increased from 11.7% to 15.2% for those aged 15-54 and from 14.7% to 20.7% for those aged 55 and over. For clients aged 0-14, the proportion who had health assessments decreased slightly from 15.9% to 13.8%.

Media release