Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Meeting Needs for Ongoing Care

Academic journal article Australian Health Review

Meeting Needs for Ongoing Care

Article excerpt

THIS ISSUE of Australian Health Review has a primary focus on meeting needs for ongoing health care for people with chronic conditions. The first paper in this issue is our n = 1 feature written by Claire Williams. Claire provides a personal account of her experiences as a carer. Her story is not uncommon - while often made to feel like an intruder in the formal care processes of her partner, with very little support, she is then required to deliver, organise and coordinate care when her partner is discharged from the system.

This theme is further explored by Dow and McDonald (page 193), who discuss the impact of the shift from care in the hospital to care in the home, and Walker (page 203) who outlines consumer inequality associated with chronic illness. Other papers present sorhe effective and some not so effective models for ongoing care delivery (page 223, 231, 239, 256 & 267). Monaem et al illustrate the issues associated with engaging men in the health care system (page 211), and Jessup and colleagues discuss the lack of best practice in managing acute diabetes-related foot complications (page 217).

A team from the University of York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination completed a comprehensive review of studies exploring self care support networks. They found little evidence for self care support networks as a generic intervention.1 Harvey and Docherty suggest a paradox of self-management similar to the fate of Sisyphus, doomed to roll a rock up a hill, only to watch it roll back down as it nears the top (page 184), yet the potential benefits of mutual help groups in mental health are identified in another paper (page 246).

This collection of papers illustrates what many of us have suspected. While we are beginning to have a greater understanding of what comprises best practice health care for people with chronic conditions, insufficient numbers of Australians living with chronic conditions receive such care. There is increasing evidence that "many chronically ill patients have socioeconomic factors, disabilities, and comorbid conditions that make it harder for practitioners and practice systems to help them". …

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