One of the features of the 14th National Rural Health Conferences was the posters display. As with the Conference papers, the posters were subject to a review process, ensuring that they were of a high standard. All 28 posters can be seen at http://www.ruralhealth.org.au/14nrhc/program/poster-presenters
Three of them were about Point of Care Testing (PoCT). Brad Elliott and Peter Merrilees described some of the clinical and economic advantages of setting up a PoCT laboratory in a medical practice in North Queensland. Tessa McCormack's poster detailed how a molecular point-of-care test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea had improved the timeliness of treatment in twelve remote Aboriginal communities. Testing is now being extended to 33 Aboriginal primary health care services.
Lara Motta's poster dealt with point-of-care testing for diabetes management in Papua New Guinea. Despite a high prevalence of diabetes in PNG, testing was only available at the Port Moresby Hospital. In 2013 point-of-care testing for HbA1c and urine ACR was introduced to four health services in Morobe Province and the program is likely to be extended to other health services.
Three of the posters considered aspects of the mental health of people in rural and remote areas. Caitlin Vayro's throws some light on why it is that many farmers do not seek help for poor mental health. Cassie Moore's dealt with the development and use of resources to help farming communities in North West Victoria deal with the effects of drought. And Jennifer Stirling's described some of the arts therapy activities of the Maryborough (Central Victoria) District Health Service's Wellness Centre which support people in the local region who have persistent mental illness.
In her poster Vanessa Vidler described some of the health and social benefits of having agreed standards for cultural security for rural and remote areas. Cassandra Whatley showcased some of the key health promotion programs and initiatives delivered in Central West Queensland.
The city of Mildura, in north west Victoria, featured in two posters. Tara Williams' described the Collective Impact project initiated locally, while Evelien Spelten's described the work of Sunraysia Community Health Services (SCHS) in providing palliative care after-hours to patients who want to spend their last days at home.
Dental student researchers Ethan Zappala, Thomas Meath and Eden Ambrose presented a poster on an evaluation of the oral health literacy of rural teenagers in Queensland. In her poster Lyn Byers, a remote area nurse practitioner, described the collaborative process used for developing the Remote Primary Health Care Manuals designed to support evidence-based best practice in primary health care centres across remote Australia. Mary King's also concerned the production and use of resources promoting quality care in rural and remote practice, in this case for health professionals in rural and remote Queensland.
Fiona Crawford-Williams' poster reported on a literature review of variations in survival by geographic location for Australian individuals with colorectal cancer (CRC). The results were inconclusive, with the author suggesting that access to CRC treatment and services may not be the main driver of disparity.
Clinton Gibbs reported on influenza and pneumococcal vaccine coverage and practices for residents and staff of aged care facilities in the Far West and Western NSW Local Health Districts, and their preparedness in the event of a case/outbreak. The author concluded that there is a need to address gaps in administering and recording influenza vaccinations of aged care facility staff and to promote outbreak prevention and response procedures.
Rebecca Presser presented a poster on maximising the effectiveness of a State-supported Indigenous quit smoking program in the Shepparton region. Brodie Thomas described a prospective study in Victoria on paramedics’ experience of occupational violence.
Sarah Venn, Health Workforce and Services Planning Manager at Health Workforce Queensland, presented a poster on a service mapping analysis for a Queensland Primary Health Network (PHN), including identification of gaps in services for children and young people. The study made use of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) online Data Explorer tool.
Other posters at the Cairns Conference included: Rebecca Irwin's on a more consistent national approach to Patient Assisted Travel Schemes; Lizzi Shires' on why Tasmanian rural GP supervisors value medical student placements so much; Matilda Low's about a program called Physical Activity Leaders, which is reducing the barriers faced by people in smaller towns who want to be in a managed physical activity group; and Owen Allen’s poster about The forging of men, project where six rural men and a career theatre maker designed a 30-minute performance.