We highlight the New GP guidelines for helping patients with Dementia, the lowering of the Age Limit for Pharmacy Flu Vaccinations and an overview of the Radiation Therapist Jobs in Australia.
New GP Guidelines for Dementia
Pharmacy Flu Vaccinations Age Limit
Medical Radiation Therapist Jobs in Australia
New GP Guidelines for Dementia
Dementia Rates in Australia
New guidelines have been developed by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) and other partners for Australian GPs to assist in reducing dementia rates nationally.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ new report on causes of death, Dementia remains the second leading cause of death in Australia.
As we previously highlighted, there are currently more than 400,000 people in Australia suffering from dementia and around 110,000 new diagnoses each year. Among all, 55% of those are women.
Dementia statistics from HealthDirect last year pointed out that:
- Almost 1 in 10 people over 65 have dementia.
- Dementia for Australians over the age of 65 is the single greatest cause of disability, the third leading cause of disabilities overall.
- Dementia comes second as the leading cause of death in Australia and leads the cause of death among Australian women.
- On average, the signs and symptoms of dementia can be noticed up to three years before a firm diagnosis is made.
- By the year 2058, it is possible over a million Australians will have dementia.
Findings from a recent global survey by Alzheimer’s Disease International, showed that there is a significant lack of knowledge around dementia. From the total 70,000 respondents across 155 countries the below key findings seem alarming:
- Almost 80% of people are concerned about developing dementia in their lifetime and 1 in 4 people worry there is nothing that can be done to prevent it
- 35% of carers said they have hidden the diagnosis of dementia of a family member
- Over 50% of carers have experienced various degrees of their own health suffering as a result of their caring responsibilities, even those who generally were positive and passionate about their role
- Nearly 62% of healthcare providers seem to think that dementia is a normal part of ageing
- Around 40% of the general public have the impression that there are plenty of doctors and nurses ignore people with dementia
The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention previously found that by making straightforward GP-recommended changes some dementia cases could be prevented. They suggested that 35% of all dementia cases, could be attributed to 9 modifiable risk factors. Important risk factors to note throughout Early, Mid and Later stages in life are Hypertension, Hearing Loss, Depression, Physical Inactivity and Low Social Contact. Other risk factors may also include Education, Obesity, Diabetes and Smoking habits.
General Practitioners in Australia are strongly encouraged to consider these findings when consulting patients that may fall into the categories of these risk factors.
New GP Guidelines
New guidelines have been issued for Australian GPs in the battle to help reduce dementia rates nationally.
The guidelines have been developed by the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration (DCRC) with a combination of 10 years of research compiled into simple and practical instructions for doctors.
The risk factors covered by the guidelines include:
- alcohol consumption
- physical activity
- social engagement
- medical conditions.
Read more on these new guidelines for GPs in the link above.
GPs can play a significant role in dementia risk reduction. They can consult patients with multiple risk factors and apply these new recommendations. GPs can also provide the earliest possible care to patients for a stronger chance of managing dementia and assist in educating patients on their risks.
The guidelines are seen as a resource based on updated evidence, GPs in Australia can be assured that they are providing the most current support possible.
GPs and nurses can also use these guidelines along with their knowledge of a patient’s lifestyle and other medical conditions, to provide targeted advice to those patients who can be more responsible for their own cognitive health. Even small changes over time can lead to positive changes.
The release of these guidelines came just after Dementia Action Week this year (16–22 September) and the Government announced new funding to improve dementia care including:
- $4 million to trial new technology with projects aimed at community support and managing medicines for people living with dementia.
- $5 million to trial new ways of determining pain in people living with dementia.
- $31 million over three years to fund the National Dementia Support Program which provides services, education and resources to people living with dementia.
What are your thoughts on these new guidelines and what GPs can do to help? We would love to hear from you.
Pharmacy Flu Vaccinations Age Limit
Some states have lowered the age limit for children to get a flu shot in pharmacies including Victoria and Western Australia. Will this help us with flu season?
Just last week, Victoria’s Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos announced that children in Victoria over the age of 10 will be able to receive their annual influenza vaccination from a community pharmacy.
In 2016, the Labor Government made a number of vaccinations available in pharmacies, including cough and flu, but qualified pharmacists have only been able to administer the vaccinations to patients 16 years and over.
By fighting with the flu season, it allows pharmacists to vaccinate more Victorians, utilising their training and expertise for the patients’ and community’s benefit.
It is estimated that around 87% of all Victorians are living within 2.5 kilometres of a pharmacy store. A trip to the local pharmacy can be much more convenient and more affordable than a trip to the GP in non-threatening cases. This will be good news for Victorian parents with children aged 10 to 16 to be able to visit a nearby pharmacy for a flu shot.
The information about the recent flu season paints a troubling picture. There were 245,000 more laboratory confirmed cases of the flu and over 400 deaths recorded across Australia. The need to be vaccinated fully against the flu is of great importance and especially strongly recommended for those who also work in public settings.
In Victoria, latest data suggests that 43,541 vaccinations were provided by pharmacists in Victoria in 2017/18, this increased to more than 82,500 in 2018/19. And across the state, the Government distributed more than two million doses of flu vaccine this year.
The Pharmacy Guild’s Victorian branch welcomed the news and congratulated the Labor Government for allowing pharmacists to vaccinate more Victorians.
They believed that lowering the minimum age for pharmacist-administered flu vaccinations will improve and save lives. It can improve access to evidence-based vaccinations which can protect more Australians from infections and other symptoms.
In Western Australia
Before Victoria, Western Australia also directed pharmacies to provide flu vaccinations to children from age 10 upwards after a series of flu-related deaths.
According to The West Australian, 14 people have succumbed to the virus in just 1 week in June 2019.
Western Australia is experiencing its worst flu season ever. More than 9000 cases have been reported and 29 deaths alone in 2019, compared to four deaths and 1300 reported cases during a similar time in 2018.
A Western Australia Health spokesperson spoke about the age limit being lowered as an urgent public health issue designed to manage the influenza outbreak and to maximise the uptake of influenza immunisation in Western Australia.
Health Minister Roger Cook said it was time for states to follow in each other’s footsteps. New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have also issued warnings about the flu season and it is important to continue to wane the effects of the viruses in Australia.
What do you think about the new age limit changes to combat our severe flu seasons? We would love to hear from you.
Medical Radiation Therapist Jobs in Australia
A Radiation Therapist has many responsibilities including the designing, planning and administering of radiation treatment plans and providing care to patients along with other medical professionals.
Medical Radiation Therapist Jobs
Among the responsibilities, Radiation Therapists use advanced technology and imaging equipment to create specific treatment plans for each of their patients’ needs. But in doing so, it is also imperative they ensure minimal damage happens to a patient’s healthy surrounding tissue where the radiation occurs.
Radiation therapists can work in hospitals and also radiation oncology centres. They work closely with Radiation Oncologists but also a wider team of doctors and nurses.
From JobOutlook, generally their responsibilities may include:
- Manage referrals for patients needing radiation treatment
- Appropriately determining what equipment to use
- Identify the anatomy needing treatment using imaging equipment and simulators
- Calculate and oversee the details of procedures including the length and intensity of the radiation treatment, the strength of dosage of isotopes and the settings for the equipment
- Educating the patients about the procedures and processes required
- Monitoring and ensuring the patient’s welfare during the procedures
- Preparing the patients and equipment for the treatment
- Report on the findings from the treatment for the other medical professionals involved
Medical Radiation Therapist Training
To become a radiation therapist, an approved qualification and degree is needed in radiation therapy. Followed by a registration with the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia and successfully meeting the yearly professional obligations for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Universities in Australia may have different requirements depending on Bachelor or Master degree’s, potential Supervised Practice Programs and postgraduate studies. It can be important to find out what is suitable for your situation.
There are also additional requirements and recommended actions prior to the first clinical placements. These can include obtaining a list of certificates and immunisations including a National Police Check, a First Aid Certificate, Immunisations, and Working with Children Check.
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study).
It is also worth noting, there are external factors that can influence the demand for Radiation Therapists including:
- government funding and healthcare policies
- particular medicinal and technological advancements
- the rate of ageing in a population
- the rate of reported diseases needing radiation therapy in a population
Medical Radiation Therapist Salary in Australia
According to Payscale, the average annual salary for a Radiation Therapist in Australia in 2019 can fluctuate around $63,127.
The actual salary may vary depending on the years of experience.
Source: Payscale. Radiation Therapist Salary based on Experience Level
Based on 30 salaries submitted, an early career Radiation Therapist with 1-4 years of experience can earn up to AU$60,630 annually.
With 5-9 years of experience, a mid-career Radiation Therapist can earn an average of AU$89,320 while an experienced Radiation Therapist with 10-19 years of experience can earn an average up to AU$95,691.
What are your thoughts on the Radiation Therapist jobs in Australia? And is there a high demand for it in certain areas? We would love to hear from you.
Gorilla Jobs can assist you with exploring a variety of job opportunities across our large network of clients looking for qualified staff. Our experienced consultants in the Doctor, Imaging and Pharmacy divisions look forward to helping you.
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