Remote Indigenous aged care facilities of the Kimberleys—an eye health audit and comparison

Remote Indigenous aged care facilities of the Kimberleys—an eye health audit and comparison Conference Paper

12th National Rural Health Conference: Strong Commitment Bright Future

  • Author(s): Robyn Main
  • Published: 2013

Abstract: Aim: An outreach circuit of indigenous aged care facility (ACF) residents was conducted in July 2012 providing optometry services to those unable to attend regular clinics. Examining the eye health of the residents and therefore establishing if their eye sight was adequate for their needs, or if not, referral pathways to local services were investigated. Method: Liaising with the ACF staff, EHCs, visiting ophthalmologists and local optometrists to organise the circuit was imperative and included emails and phone calls from six months before the visit took place. Administrative requirements included lists of residents at each ACF and their medical records. Equipment suited to mobile optometry was required. Residents were examined in a consultation room at each ACF on the designated day. Results were recorded in a computerised record system. Referral to visiting ophthalmologists was implemented in consultation with ACF clinical nurse managers (CNM), GPs and the local eye health coordinator (EHC). Results of eye health and vision status were compared with metropolitan and rural ACF residents. Relevance: Service provision to remote areas is a recognised issue which needs to be highlighted if the health gap is to be closed. ACFs are the “final chapter” for health care and therefore, the gaps endured in earlier years can be revealed clearer. In eye health, optimum care results in good vision and therefore improved quality of life, especially in the latter years of a person’s life. An audit of eye health indicates the wellbeing in this important sensory area-eye sight. Comparison with metropolitan and rural sample populations show whether the “gap” is approaching “closure” . Results: Six ACFs were visited over eleven days. A total of 94 indigenous residents were examined ranging from age 63-101 years of age. The majority had good eye health with nine requiring referral for ophthalmological examination, mainly cataract extraction. This compared better than residents eye health and vision metropolitan and rural ACFs. Conclusion: The low incidence of ophthalmological referral required and the comparative findings of good vision and eye health in the ACF populations of the Kimberleys is a “Good News story” which should be celebrated by all who have worked so hard in the past to enable these legends to enjoy seeing the sunsets of their final years. When compared with residents in ACFs in metropolitan and other rural areas, they were found to have better eye health and vision. Is this a “first” in the closing of the gap in indigenous health?

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Suggested Citation
Robyn Main, 2013, Remote Indigenous aged care facilities of the Kimberleys—an eye health audit and comparison, Conference Paper, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3104.

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