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Do people in rural and remote Queensland delay using health services to manage the episodes of incapacity?
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Sansnee Jirojwong, N Pandeya, R MacLennan
The research project described in the present paper aimed to explore the types of self-reported management which families in relatively ‘high’, ‘moderate’ and ‘low’ medically resourced areas use for episodes of incapacity and the length of time from an initial symptom to the management behaviours. A telephone survey was conducted in rural and remote Queensland, Australia, to explore one or more types of management for the most recent incapacity episode of family members. A respondent indicated at least one type of management for any one episode. These included using a home remedy, self-treatment and an ambulatory doctor’s visit. Data were analysed descriptively and analytically. Log transformations were used for all outcomes prior to using bivariate analyses which incorporated the correlation between observations to compare the time from initial symptom to management between groups. Among 394 households contacted, 270 provided information about 697 household members, 269 (38.5%) of whom had had at least one episode of incapacity in the previous 12 months. Among people in each of the three resourced areas, there was a significant difference in the length of time taken to visit accident and emergency (A&E) units. Men visited the units and consulted books earlier than women. Although age was not quite significantly related to the use of A&E units (P = 0.06), data suggested that people 35 years or older tended to take a longer time to use the services than the younger age groups. After taking into account that the members of the same household might take the same time from initial symptoms to management, people who were incapacitated and lived in areas with different levels of medical resources and gender were likely to be different in the time taken to use services at the A&E units.