Rural carers: ‘hanging on by the fingernails’

07 February 2011

Rural carers: ‘hanging on by the fingernails’
With an urban-centric and over-regulated model of aged care, how can high quality service be
provided for thousands of older Australians in rural and remote areas for whom residential aged
care is the only option?
Hanging on by our fingernails is the title of a paper to be presented at the 11th biennial National
Rural Health Conference at the Perth Exhibition Convention Centre from 13-16 March. It will be
presented by Rosemary Young, National Director of Frontier Services, which provides carer support
to many outback communities. Rosemary’s address will highlight something that has been all too
obvious to people in the bush since the new year began: the random nature of events that take
place in rural and remote areas. These situations demand creative management skills and a good
sense of humour in those who choose to serve and care for elderly people.
In another paper The tyranny of distance: Carers in rural and remote areas, Joan Hughes, CEO of
Carers Australia, will describe the challenges for unpaid carers operating in remote locations when
providing care to those with a disability, mental illness, terminal illness and a chronic condition.
Rural and Remote Australia: the heart of a healthy nation is the theme for this year’s National Rural
Health Conference. It will see a thousand of those concerned with both the immediate and the
longer-term challenges confronting health and wellbeing in the bush exchanging both formal
reports and informal views. Their shared passion is for people in rural and remote areas to have
safe, accessible and reliable health services and a good quality of life.
Keynote speakers will consider how the sustainability of rural communities is affected by health
workforce shortages; mental health facilities; consumer engagement in health services; and the
likely impact of the new Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks.
The full program is on the NRHA website at