The health and health preparation of long-term Australian travellersElizabeth Halcomb A B , Moira Stephens A , Elizabeth Smyth A , Shahla Meedya A and Sarah Tillott A
A School of Nursing, Faculty of Science, Medicine & Health, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(4) 386-390 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16138
Submitted: 24 October 2016 Accepted: 1 March 2017 Published: 8 June 2017
A growing number of Australians are travelling domestically for extended periods. This creates challenges in both continuity of health care and burdens on health services. This paper reports a cross-sectional survey aimed to explore the health needs and health planning of long-term travellers. In total, 316 respondents who had travelled for more than 3 months consecutively in the last year participated. Most respondents were retired (n = 197; 62.3%); however, ages ranged from 26 to 89 years. Nearly half of the respondents or their travel companion had a long-term illness that affected their daily life (n = 135; 42.7%). Nearly half of respondents visited a GP (n = 133; 42.1%), nearly one-quarter visited an Emergency Department (n = 72; 22.8%) and 19.9% (n = 63) visited another health provider while travelling. The level of preparation around health while travelling varied between participants. This study highlights that long-term travellers have significant health needs and are likely to require health services during their extended travel. Additionally, it identifies that currently few strategies are used to plan for health care during travel. This raises issues for rural and remote health services in terms of both capacity and continuity of care.
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