New research on dementia in rural areas

09 August 2013

The proportion of Australians aged 60 and over is rising, and there is a projected tripling of those with dementia by 2050. It is commonly known that dementia is characterised by impaired memory but less well known is the fact that those with dementia are acutely sensitive to the social and built environment. Therefore, not surprisingly, dementia patients find hospitals, with their many strangers, bleeping electronic noises and moveable equipment, disturbing.
In the latest issue of the Australian Journal of Rural Health, Kasia Bail and others explore this topic in relation to the increased challenges posed by dementia patients in rural areas. Being diagnosed with dementia often leads to increasing length of hospital stay for older people, with adverse experiences and increased mortality, particularly for those in remote areas.
The researchers found that non-traditional methods of service delivery such as telehealth and the use of nurse practitioners are increasingly being used for those with dementia in rural and remote areas.
Another health area in which modified approaches are effective is maternity services, which are being denied to more and more women in their local town. Original research by Ha Hoang and Quynh Le gives a ‘Comprehensive picture of rural women’s needs in maternity care in Tasmania’. Their investigations confirm that women would like greater access to local services and to receive better support from them.
The August issue of AJRH also includes two reports on the physical and mental health of young people: ‘Health outcomes of eating disorder clients in a rural setting’ by Tierney Sheridan and others and ‘Perceptions of body satisfaction and desired weight loss among Tasmanian adolescents’ by Clarissa J Hughes. The ‘social norms’ approach of the latter, which corrects misperceptions and uses credible local data, appears promising for promoting positive body image among young adults.
Intending authors can submit papers on line at
Learn more about AJRH at and access AJRH contents at

Media Enquiries: 

Gordon Gregory - NRHA Executive Director: 02 62854660