Published Papers - Abstract 380

Lucke J, Russell A, Tooth L, Lee C, Watson M, Byrne G, Wilson A & Dobson A. Few urban-rural differences in older carers' access to community services. Australian Health Review, 2008; 32(4): 684-690

Objective: To examine perceived adequacy of access to information and services, and perceived quality of health and community services, among older female carers across rural and urban areas throughout Australia.Data Sources/Study Setting: Primary data collected as part of the ongoing Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH). Over 40,000 women were randomly selected from the Australian Medicare database in 1996, with intentional over-sampling in rural and remote areas.Study Design: A nested cross-sectional substudy of 306 older women (aged 78-83 years), who indicated they were providing care for someone with a long term illness, disability or frailty.Principal Findings: There were few reported differences between urban and rural older carers in their access to health and community services for the people they cared for. In fact, those in rural areas fared slightly better than those in urban areas in awareness of service availability and perceived quality of service.Conclusions: Many older carers in both rural and urban areas do not access health and community services even when appropriate services are available. A better understanding is needed of how support can be delivered to complement older carers' existing arrangements.