Grey nomads: Health and health preparation of older travellers in remote Australia

Joel Tate, Jacki Mein, Hayley Freeman, Graeme Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Many older Australians now tour remote Australia (so called 'grey nomads'). Anecdote suggests they place a burden on limited remote health services, however, this burden is poorly documented. Methods: Two groups were approached to participate in the survey: travellers aged 50 years or over and staying in caravans, motor homes or tents at Fitzroy Crossing, Western Australia; and local primary health care providers. Results: All 260 travellers approached responded. The prevalence of chronic diseases in those aged 65 years or over was 68%; 57% had sufficient chronic medications for the entire trip; 19% had a list of long term medications; and 9% of those with chronic diseases had a health summary from their usual general practitioner. Sixty-four local health providers responded: 95% rated health summaries highly (particularly if they included an active problem list, past history, current medications, and allergies). Discussion: Older patients are poorly prepared for travel in remote Australia. They have a chronic disease rate no less than the national prevalence and could represent a drain on local health resources. Solutions might include GP review before travel, bringing sufficient medication for the trip, review of vaccination requirements, and a health summary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-72
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Volume35
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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