Despite getting well-known local comedian Mandy Nolan to MC the event, an upcoming forum on falls prevention will stress that experiencing a fall, and the lengthy rehabilitation that often follows, is no laughing matter.

One in three people older than 65 have a fall each year, according to Northern NSW Local Health District Falls Prevention Coordinator, Julia Dayhew, who said that up to one-fifth of these people experience multiple falls.

No other single cause of injury, including road trauma, costs the health system more than falls,” she added.

NNSWLHD Nurse Practitioner Psychogeriatrics, Anne Moehead

The care of dementia patients in hospitals has been found to benefit from staff knowing the five most important things a person needs in order to be reassured and comfortable during their stay.

Short-handed as the ‘Top 5’, the tool is now being implemented across the Northern NSW Local Health District, starting with Lismore Base Hospital.

The initiative, which coincides with national Dementia Awareness Month, is designed to help medical staff working with carers to tap into the latter group’s knowledge and expertise. The beneficiaries are patients, carers, and clinicians.

NNSWLHD Nurse Practitioner Psychogeriatrics, Anne Moehead, said LBH is implementing the Top 5 program across the Health Service to help personalise hospital care for patients with memory and thinking problems.

Film review - Robin Osborne

Diverse medical issues have inspired three of the best Australian films of recent times, Ruben Guthrie (the dangers of alcohol misuse), Last Cab to Darwin (cancer, and euthanasia), and Holding the Man (HIV/AIDS).

Since reviewing the first of these for GP Speak Spring issue I made a point of catching the second on the basis of loving the work of actor Michael Caton (The Castle), who plays a cancer patient/cab driver willing to drive thousands of kilometres for a painless death.

Liz Rix

Residual trauma from ‘Stolen Generation’ experiences, cultural insensitivity in parts of the healthcare system, and memories of discrimination against family members* - broadly linked as ‘institutional racism’ - continues to impact on the effectiveness of renal care for rural Aboriginal people.

This is a key finding in research for a PhD thesis undertaken by University of Sydney doctoral candidate Liz Rix who held lengthy discussions with Aboriginal renal patients in the Northern Rivers region.

Ms Rix, a non-Indigenous person, has been invited to present a paper on her research at the October conference of the American Indigenous Research Association in Pablo, Montana USA

Medicare Logo

For the first time ever, more than one million billings a day are being received by Medicare, a figure that outstrips the number of new patients over the past decade by three-to-one.

Announcing the Medicare statistics for 2014-15, Health Minister Sussan Ley said 21 million Australians accessed more than 368 million individual services on the Medicare Benefit Schedule (MBS).

The cost to taxpayers exceeded $20 billion, she added.

According to the Minister, about 90 per cent of the nation’s 23.95M population accessed Medicare last year, with an average number of 17 items being recorded per patient, at an average cost of $800 per person.

“Medicare claims are now an average of $350 a year higher than they were 10 years ago,” Ms Ley said.