03 January 2018

Overweight and Obese: a public health issue

Young people today are much more likely to be obese than their parents were when they were the same age, according to new analysis released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
This report provides an overview of overweight and obesity in Australia-a major public health issue that has significant health and financial costs. Almost one-quarter of children and two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and rates continue to rise, largely due to a rise in obesity, which cost the economy $8.6 billion in 2011-12.  

Download the report here.   

Caring for Cognitive Impairment

People with cognitive impairment in hospital are at increased risk of preventable complications as they have difficulty with communication, speech or understanding language, memory, attention, thinking or judgment.
The Caring for Cognitive Impairment campaign is about providing better outcomes and experiences for patients with cognitive impairment in hospitals, and for their loved ones and staff who care for them. The campaign website has a wealth of information, tools, stories and resources aimed at those working in hospitals caring for people with cognitive impairment.

Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteraemia in Australian Hospitals 2016–17

In 2016-17, Australian public hospitals reported 1,502 cases of hospital-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) at a rate of 0.76 cases per 10,000 days of patient care. SAB is a type of infection often associated with healthcare. It occurs when Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (‘Golden staph’) cause an infection of the bloodstream (bacteraemia). When associated with healthcare procedures, these infections are considered to be potentially preventable. This new report from AIHW is free to download.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian hospitals 2016–17. AIHW, Cat. no: HSE 198

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessions are more than just worries about real life problems. They are excessive and illogical, and can cause distress to both the person affected and those caring for them.
This guide from SANE Australia provides an in-depth exploration of OCD, its causes and treatments, coping strategies and support for people living with OCD and their families, friends and carers.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)      

27 December 2017

Antimicrobial Resistance Website

The Government has launched an online resource for industry and the community as part of ongoing work to tackle the rise of antimicrobial resistance.
The main cause of antibiotic resistance is antibiotic use, the more we use antibiotics, the more chance bacteria have to develop resistance to them. As a result of antibiotic resistance, standard medical and veterinary treatments may become ineffective and infections may persist and spread to others. Australia is one of the developed world’s highest users of antibiotics – one of the main causes of AMR.

The new AMR website has information for the community, health professionals, animal health professionals, farmers, animal owners and the broader agriculture industry.

Using appreciative inquiry as a framework to enhance the patient experience

The following case depicts the journey of a non-profit hospital in the US and its attempts to turn around suffering patient experience. The Hospital turned to the theories of Appreciative Inquiry and the power of a strengths-based approach to create a framework to support the patient experience initiatives. Hospital leadership led the formation of a Patient Experience Team to implement ten initiatives in order increase the top box score in the domain of willingness to recommend the hospital, as that was selected as a global measure of success for the overall improvement project.

Moorer, Kerry [et al] (2017). Using appreciative inquiry as a framework to enhance the
patient experience, Patient Experience Journal,  4(3), Article 18. 

A productive workplace is built on teamwork and a shared vision

An interesting blog post from Jane Collins on the KingsFund blog where the author considers how managers and clinicians can work together to improve productivity and reduce waste in healthcare. Although the post relates to the NHS, improving productivity in the UK has become a national priority as it is in Australia.

Collins, Jane (2017) 'A productive workplace is built on teamwork and a shared vision', 8 November. Available at: (Accessed 27 December 2017)

Hospital care for Australian sports injury 2012-13

This report focuses on acute care services provided by hospitals for sports injuries treated in Australian hospitals in 2012-13. Cases of sports injury are examined in terms of the body region injured with ten types of injury are described in some detail. 7500 people were hospitalised for sport-related head injury and 5500 for knee injury.

Hospital care for Australian sports injury 2012–13, AIHW 2017.  

Work-related hospitalised injuries, Australia 2006-07 to 2013-14

AIHW has recently published a report on work related injuries requiring hospitalisation. There were 617,755 hospitalised cases funded by workers' compensation in Australia in the period from 2006-07 to 2013-14, with 72% being male and 96% aged 15-64. Almost 38% of these cases were hospitalised primarily due to a musculoskeletal-related condition while 32% were hospitalised primarily due to injury and poisoning. There were 234,104 hospitalised cases reported as work related over this period, with 61% being funded by workers' compensation.

Download report: Work-related hospitalised injuries, Australia 2006-07 to 2013-14  

Strengthening safety statistics: How to make hospital safety data more useful

Australia needs to reform how it collects and uses information about patient safety, to reduce the risk of more scandals and tragedies in our hospitals, according to Grattan Institute’s latest report, Strenghtening safety statistics: How to make hospital safety data more useful. The system is awash with data, but the information is poorly collated, not shared with patients, and often not given to doctors, explains Health Program Director Stephen Duckett in this podcast. Inexcusably, private hospitals are left outside state safety monitoring of hospitals. The performance of private hospitals should be analysed in the same way as public hospitals, and the results fed back to them and reported widely.
To ensure hospital safety data is more useful, it must be more trustworthy, relevant and accessible. The many different data sets should be linked, and the information should be presented more clearly so doctors can act on it and patients can understand it.

You can listen to the podcast or download the report here. 

Yoga for Improving Health and Well-being

This Cochrane Library Special Collection of systematic reviews on yoga focuses on reviews evaluating the effectiveness of yoga for improving physical or mental symptoms and quality of life in a range of health conditions. It has been developed to bring the best available evidence on the health-related effects of yoga to the attention of the general public, patients, health professionals, and other decision makers, and to inform choices on the use of yoga to improve health and well-being.

Yoga for improving health and well-being. Cochrane Library Special Collection. Nov. 2017. 

Opioid Dependence in Older Adults

A literature review of relevant material was conducted in November 2015 to assess current outcome research among older adults treated for opioid dependence. Most research conducted on older adults involves alcohol and prescription medications. Older drug users are growing in number and have a unique profile, with many presenting for treatment for the first time aged 50–70 years. Findings reveal that opioid treatment numbers are decreasing, however the average age of treatment admissions is increasing, older clients achieve better treatment outcomes than younger counterparts, and older women achieve better treatment outcomes than men.
Addiction and healthcare services must anticipate and prepare for increased demand by this group.

Carew, A.M., Comiskey, C. M. (2018).Treatment for opioid use and outcomes in older adults: a systematic literature review. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 182(Jan), 48-57. [open access]  

14 September 2017

How is my Local Hospital Performing?

The Bureau of Health Information is a board-governed organisation that publishes independent reports about the performance of the NSW public healthcare system. Just released is the Healthcare Quarterly report showing how hospitals and ambulance services performed in the April to June 2017 quarter.

Check the performance of your local hospital here.  

Link between health and academic achievement

A study published in CDC’s September 8th issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) consolidates the association between student health and academic grades. The study confirms that high school students who lack physical activity and inadequate nutrition, also reported lower academic marks.
 Using information gathered from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), in the United States, researchers in CDC’s Healthy Schools investigated the relationships between 10 dietary, physical activity, and sedentary risk behaviors and one measure of academic achievement. Grades surveyed were 9-12.
Researchers found that students who reported higher grades are more likely to engage in physical activity for at least 60 minutes a day on 5 or more days and play on at least one sports team. They were also less likely to watch television or play video games for 3 or more hours per day.

Social participation and successful aging

"Social participation consists of three inter-related concepts most informatively labelled Social Connections, Informal Social Participation, and Volunteering." Regardless of the measure of health that was used, the literature review undertaken in this study, indicated that each concept shared a positive relationship with health in older adults. Cognitive function, depression, and even a reduced incidence of falls were some on the health outcomes shown to improve.
This article in Australian Health Review overviews the three concepts of social participation, their methods of measurement and their associations with health in older adults.

Douglas Heather, Georgiou Andrew, Westbrook Johanna (2016) Social participation as an indicator of successful aging: an overview of concepts and their associations with health. Australian Health Review 41(4), 455-462. (Open access)