What is Psychogeriatric SOS?
Australians living in rural and remote areas are generally not as healthy as those living in the cities, and the Australian health workforce is inadequately distributed for the needs of the rural population. However, mental health problems are more prevalent in rural populations, and in particular, older rural Australians are 10% more likely to have a psychiatric disorder than their city-dwelling counterparts.
One approach to health shortages in rural Australia has been to develop 'tele-health' solutions These most often involve the development of electronic health records, video-conferencing, information-based websites, and/or help-lines, that are focused on providing services directly to patients. Although most studies have shown that tele-health solutions are faster, more economical, and at least as effective as transporting patients and/or clinicians over large distances, the uptake of these services has been relatively low.
A consistent positive finding has been that tele-health solutions that actively involve the local clinicians can increase the skills and expertise of these rural primary care providers. This has then lead to the proposal that an alternative and possibly more powerful tele-health solution than those currently available would be to focus on providing timely advice, supervision, training, education and support to existing local rural clinicians to up-skill and empower them to better manage their patients locally.
This is what Psychogeriatric SOS will do.