A new report funded by the government is urging retired travellers to make sure they don’t get caught without a healthcare record, particularly when heading out into the bush.
Travellers, particularly those of retirement age, are being urged to complete an online healthcare record before heading out on travels, as medical provision is increasingly handed over to nurse practitioners.
Nurse practitioners will from now on be providing the “grey nomads”, or retired travellers as we prefer to say at RV Daily, with complex health assessments, repeat prescriptions and referrals to other health professionals, as well as ordering diagnostic investigations, as required.
According to research funded by the Federal government and conducted by the University of Canberra, “grey nomads” are facing being caught out by the level of health facilities available to them.
As the report states, “In remote areas, even if they are popular tourist destinations, health care facilities may be limited.”
The unfortunate truth is that not every town, or remote location in Australia, has a medical practitioner in residence 24/7, 365 days a year. “The reality is that this is not financially viable,” says the report.
Authors also stress that retired travellers need to be mindful of the difference between health services delivered in the cities and the country, meaning that there shouldn’t be an expectation that the same level of care can be delivered easily.
There are many remote locations that are served intermittently only by the Flying Doctor Service. There is need, then, for travellers to prepare for all their health needs, current and potential, prior to leaving on their journey.
One way to help nurse practitioners deliver the level of care required is for people to complete the Commonwealth-funded My Healthcare Record, prior to leaving on their journey.
This ensures that all health professionals, across the entire country, are aware of the person’s health history. It is important to note that health records of individuals are held by GPs and can’t be accessed by other health professionals, unless formally released with full consent of the individual. If the individual has a car accident or becomes unwell on the other side of the continent, accessing those records presents a range of problems. Likewise, it is important to realise that the health records held in state-run facilities, such as Emergency Departments of hospitals, cannot be accessed by health professionals located in other states unless formally released with full consent of the individual.