01 July 2015

Cancer Survivorship

This edition of Cancer Forum presents a series of articles articulating the state of cancer survivorship in Australia and work to improve psychosocial and cancer outcomes for those living after a diagnosis of cancer. While many people live for relatively long periods after their cancer diagnosis, we know a sizable proportion experience poor health and side-effects of cancer and its treatments.
Cancer survivorship;   July 2015 Vol 39 Issue No 2

Cancer Screening Statistics in Australia

Cancer screening programs aim to reduce illness and death resulting from cancer through an organised approach to screening. Measures of participation in cancer screening programs tell us how many people participate in these programs, and whether factors such as remoteness, socioeconomic status or Indigenous status mean that people are more likely to miss out on the benefits of screening.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released new cancer screening web pages:

An Introduction to Trauma Informed Care

ACATLGN has recently announced the launch of a free online learning website - An Introduction toTrauma Informed Care. This online learning has been designed to increase information and knowledge on the impact of experiences of adversity and trauma on children and young people. It contains information, resources, videos and links to provide a comprehensive introduction to trauma informed care.  
The program is designed as an easily accessed on-line introduction and learning program for families, carers and other professionals with responsibilities for the care of children who may need support as a result of challenging and potentially traumatic experiences. There are six modules that you can work through at your own pace, with free resources to download that accompany the modules.

The Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network is based at the Australian National University and is funded by the Australian Government.

FoodSwitch App

Created by the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, the FoodSwitch app is now the number one downloaded food scanning app in the Australian Appstore."The free app helps consumers find out what is in the food they are eating and suggests simple, alternative healthier choices. FoodSwitch also has several filters designed to allow consumers to focus on their specific dietary requirements, including SaltSwitch, SugarSwitch and GlutenSwitch." The app is free to download.
Click here for the FoodSwitch app.

24 June 2015

Health and Climate Change - Lancet report

Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health has been published by the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change.  It examines the impacts of climate change on the health of worldwide populations and suggests policy responses. This Commission includes 60 international experts from multidisciplinary fields and its central message is that tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.

Using clean renewable energy sources, energy-efficient buildings and active transport options are considered by the report authors to be particularly important in the effort to reduce air pollution and improve the incidence of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, mental illness and respiratory disease.

Healthy eating pyramid

Nutrition Australia has launched its Healthy Eating Pyramid as a simple visual guide to the types of foods Australians should eat for good health.  It's based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) for 19-50 year olds.

The bottom of the pyramid includes plant-based foods: vegetables and legumes, fruits and grains, and the guidelines suggest 70% of what we eat should come from this layer.  The middle layer includes dairy foods and alternatives as well as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.  The top layer has healthy fats (not saturated or trans fats).

Antimicrobial resistance strategy

Responding to the threat of antimicrobial resistance: Australia's first national antimicrobial resistance strategy 2015–2019 has been released by the Australian Government this month. It was developed in partnership with industry and government, including the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare and aims to guide actions by governments, health professionals, farmers and veterinarians to respond to the threat of antibiotic misuse and resistance.

The Strategy document discusses the looming public health issues globally and nationally related to antimicrobial resistance and “calls on all stakeholders to support a collaborative effort to change those practices that have contributed to the development of resistance and implement new initiatives to reduce inappropriate antibiotic usage and resistance.”

18 June 2015

National opioid pharmacotherapy statistics 2014

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released the National opiod pharmacotherapy statistics for 2014.  Dependence on opioid drugs is associated with a range of health and social problems and this bulletin presents information on the clients receiving opioid pharmacotherapy treatment, the doctors prescribing these drugs, and the dosing points that clients attend to receive their medication.

On a snapshot day in 2014, over 48,000 clients received pharmacotherapy treatment for their opioid dependence at 2,432 dosing points around Australia. As in previous year, methadone was the most common pharmacotherapy drug, with around two-thirds (67%) of clients treated with this drug. There were 2,319 prescribers of opioid pharmacotherapy drugs, an increase of 15% from 2013.

Perinatal depression and existing mental health problems

The results of a study published in The Lancet made general news last week when it strongly supported the theory that perinatal depression is a continuation of mental health problems from earlier in life. The research involved tracking Victorian women from adolescence, and has been going since 1992. The researchers concluded that women with a history of persisting common mental disorders before pregnancy are an identifiable high-risk group, deserving of clinical support throughout the childbearing years. "Furthermore, the window for considering preventive intervention for perinatal depression should extend to the time before conception.".

One of the authors, George Patton from the University of Melbourne, wrote a summary piece in The Conversation explaining the study and its implications: Postnatal depression is a continuation of existing mental health problems.  

The full study: Patton, G. C., Romaniuk, H., Spry, E., Coffey, C., Olsson, C., Doyle, L. W., . . . Brown, S. (2015). Prediction of perinatal depression from adolescence and before conception (VIHCS): 20-year prospective cohort study. The Lancet.

Global Drug Survey 2015

The Global Drug Survey (an independent research organisation) each year attracts more than 100,000
online responses from individuals around the world about their drug use. The study looks at prevalence, price, purity, value for money and the proportion of people seeking medical treatment. The 2015 survey specifically focussed on:
  • The dark net - with the closure of Silk Road, how are people buying drugs online?
  • Nitrous oxide - the risks of neurological harm from this drug
  • E-cigarettes - whether these might be used for something other than nicotine
  • Performance enhancing drugs - weight loss agents and anabolic steroids
  • Cognitive enhancers - Ritalin, modafanil and atomoxetine use among students and working people.

Health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

The health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2015 is the eighth in a series of reports that provide a comprehensive statistical picture of a range of topics considered important for improving the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. The report presents up-to-date statistics, as well as trend information. It examines differences between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, as well as differences by factors such as age, sex and, in particular remoteness. 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Cat. no. IHW 147.

My Aged Care website

From 1 July 2015 the aged care system is changing, with the aim to make it easier for Australians to understand their options, the costs involved and how to access this support. 

My Aged Care is the first step for individuals and their families seeking advice on their options and how to access this support. It has been established by the Australian Government to help people navigate the aged care system.

11 June 2015

Total and domain-specific sitting time among employees

Prolonged time spent in sedentary behaviours (e.g. too much sitting) has emerged as a new behavioural risk factor for chronic diseases, independent of the amount of time spent in leisure-time
physical activity. Desk-based employees reported that more than half of their total daily sitting time was accrued in the work setting. Given the high contribution of occupational sitting to total daily sitting time among desk-based employees, interventions should focus on the work setting.
This free article in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health concluded that health strategies to reduce daily sitting levels in desk-based workers should particularly focus on younger,
overweight/obese and insufficiently active individuals, as it seems that they are at the highest risk of this health-risk behaviour.
Bennie, J. A., Pedisic, Z., Timperio, A., Crawford, D., Dunstan, D., Bauman, A., van Uffelen, J. and Salmon, J. (2015), Total and domain-specific sitting time among employees in desk-based work settings in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39: 237–242. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12293

A nurses' guide to Qualitative research

This article provides a breakdown of the components of qualitative research methodology. Its intention is to simplify the terminology and process of qualitative research to enable novice readers of research to better understand the concepts involved. The content of this article is intended to support the novice investigator to move towards higher levels of clinical competence  with regard to understanding and using research.

Ingham-Broomfield, Rebecca. (2015) A nurses' guide to Qualitative research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(3) 34-40.

Urinary tract infections in adults

 This quality standard covers the management of suspected community‑acquired bacterial urinary tract infection in adults aged 16 years and over. This includes women who are pregnant, people with indwelling catheters and people with other diseases or medical conditions such as diabetes.
The standard from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK, includes diagnosis, urine culture and antibiotic treatment.
Urinary tract infections in adultsNICE quality standard [QS90] June 2015