In this story:
- CHA calls for palliative care funding to continue
- New time-saving Commonwealth Grant Guidelines
- Short film series celebrating anti-disability discrimination
- Doctors speak out against regional nursing home closure
- NBN early adopter insights
- Multivitamins are good for your mood and energy levels, research shows
Compiled by Natasha Egan
Catholic Health Australia CEO Martin Laverty
People who are dying shouldn't have to worry about whether they will be able to receive the end-of-life care they deserve because there is no funding to support it, Catholic Health Australia (CHA) has told a Senate Inquiry into implementation of the National Health Reform Agreement.
CHA is calling for palliative care funding, which it says has resulted in marked improvements in quality and access to end-of-life care, to be continued after June 30 when the National Partnership Agreement (NPA) funding is due to cease. CHA chief executive officer Martin Laverty said there has been a concerted effort for several years to ensure people receive dignified and compassionate care at the end of their lives, delivered by interdisciplinary teams as part of best practice. “But now, after progress has been made, we risk seeing those advances disappear if the funding is not continued,” he said.
Mr Laverty said Catholic health and aged care organisations provided up to 50 per cent of the Australia’s palliative care services. Many of those providers have used the NPA funding to hire and train people who can now deliver quality palliative care and we can't allow that to be lost, he said.
While much has been said about governments' desire to improve palliative care options, little has been done, Mr Laverty said. But commonwealth, state and territory governments can see through this NPA program the benefits that can be enjoyed if appropriate emphasis, and corresponding funding, is given to palliative care services, he said.
New Commonwealth Grant Guidelines which aim to reduce duplication for charities have been launched this week by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Penny Wong.
The revised guidelines state that agency staff should not seek information from grant applicants and grant recipients that is already collected elsewhere by the commonwealth government. In particular, agency staff must not request information registered charities have already provided to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).
The updated guidelines also state that agency staff must take into account reporting information collected by the ACNC. If the organisation provides an annual audited financial statement, then a financial acquittal should not be required, unless the granting activity is higher risk. ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe says not having to provide the same information over and over will reduce duplication for charities and help to minimise time spent filling out paperwork.
The changes tie in with the ‘report once, use often’ concept of the ACNC’s proposed Charity Passport. The electronic passport will enable information the ACNC collects from charities to be shared electronically. For more information read the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines. See section 4.7 for these changes.
The Australian Human Rights Commission has teamed up with the Sydney Community Foundation to produce a series of short films in honour of the twentieth anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.
The films,Twenty Years:Twenty Stories, show how people have used the law to change their lives, and the lives of others, and were launched by Governor-General Quentin Bryce on March 1. Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes said while going to school, catching a bus, watching a movie or entering a building were things people did every day, some have had to fight hard to be able to do them.
The Disability Discrimination Act allows Australians with disability and their relatives or associates to pursue a complaint if treated less favourably than other people. Commissioner Innes said the purpose of the films is to show the biggest barrier Australians with a disability face is not disability itself but rather negative attitudes. “We want the portrayal of the DDA to be real. So not all of the stories you'll see are positive,” he said.
People telling their stories include, Marlon Noble, a man left in prison for ten years but never convicted of a crime; Mark Hopper, a strong advocate for access in his community; promising young runner Sekou Kanneh who just wanted an equal chance to win; and Scarlett Finney, who was denied enrolment at school because of her disability.
Doctors in the northern New South Wales town of Musswellbrook have opposed plans to close the town’s nursing home in favour of building a new emergency department, according to an online report in the Muswellbrook Chronicle.
The report by Dayarne Smith said eight doctors signed a letter in favour of keeping the 18-bed aged care facility, which is housed on Muswellbrook hospital’s ground floor. The emergency department is on the first floor. Muswellbrook GP Dr Mark Rikard-Bell and chairman of the local medical staff council told the Chronicle that at the last medical staff meeting all available visiting medical officers signed a letter saying they would prefer to continue working in an inadequate emergency department if it preserved the nursing home.
While the present position is not ideal and a with a new home is desired, having no nursing home beds for three years is not acceptable, the report quoted Dr Rikard-Bell as saying. He further said there were no plans in place for alternative nursing home accommodation in the town and an interim plan to use the hospital’s acute beds would primarily affect the surgical and cataract lists, which once again disadvantaged the elderly.
Early adopters of the National Broadband Network (NBN) are more likely to be homeowners than renters and in households with children, according to research examining NBN take up and use in the first-release site of Brunswick, Victoria.
Elsewhere in the findings of the joint Melbourne and Swinbourne universities project, 82 per cent of survey participants reported the NBN was a good idea and 62 per cent of households that had taken up plans on the NBN reported an increase in the volume of home Internet. NBN homes were twice as likely to be used for telework (30 per cent) than other households (15).
It found Internet speed guided retail service plan decisions for 29 per cent of NBN households compared to 10 per cent of non-NBN connected homes. And 24 per cent of non-NBN homes found price important compared to 9 per cent of NBN-connected households.The research found the NBN had no real impact on Internet cost for 49 per cent of households surveyed; cost increased somewhat for 26 per cent, but was often accompanied by increased Internet speeds and sense of value; and decreased somewhat in 11 per cent of households usually as a result of substituting a landline for a VoIP telephone service.On how the type of Internet connection affected the number of household devices that connect to the Internet 30 per cent of NBN households reported that it had either increased somewhat or a lot compared to 20per cent of other homes.
This interdisciplinary study by a team of researchers from University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology was supported by a research grant from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).View the full report (pdf): Broadbanding Brunswick: High-speed Broadband and Household Media Ecologies.
The clinical trial investigated the effects of the commercial product Swisse Ultivite F1 formulations. The four-month trial involved 114 male and female participants. Half took a multivitamin and half took a placebo supplement. Neither participant nor investigator knew which was taken. After the trial participants answered open ended questions about any positive, negative or unusual experiences they felt during the supplementation period. Researchers found significant increased energy and enhanced mood in the multivitamin group compared to the placebo group.
Chief investigator Dr Andrew Pipingas said there was a lot of traditional evidence of the actions of vitamins and minerals on physiology and health, but there was a lack of randomised controlled clinical trials examining the effects of multivitamins on brain health. “The results of this study, taken together with a recently published Meta-Analysis, suggest that multivitamins may help with enhancing energy and mood,” he said.
The study is part of a larger trial investigating the effects of 20-50 year olds taking a multivitamin supplement and assessing cognition, mood, stress and other health outcomes. This is the first paper in the series to be published and can be read here in Nutrition Journal.