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Psycho-social Update

Volume 2, Issue 3 October 2007

PSU - A Quarterly Newsletter of IPP-SHR, Central Queensland University, Australia.



‘Psycho-Social Update’ (PSU) is a newsletter from the International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research (IPPSHR), Central Queensland University, circulated quarterly to an international audience of over 4000 service providers, policy makers and academics with an interest in the human experience of serious physical and mental illness.

Editorial ............................................................ 2 Global Update .....................................................4 International Perspectives ....................................6 From the Coalface ...............................................8 What’s On .......................................................... 9 Journal Profile ...................................................10 Work-in-Progress ............................................. 12 R-e-Search ...................................................... 12

Further information on all articles and programs summarised in this newsletter is available on the IPP-SHR website at: Detailed Insights into Psycho-Social Health Research IPP-SHR PODCASTS- page 11

Off the Press @ IPP-SHR

Features Spirituality ....................... ..................................2 Cardiac Pain or Panic Disorder?.............................5 Priority Setting in Uganda.....................................5 Psycho-Social Research: Tennerife Spain................6 Research in Developing Countries........................ 6 IPP-SHR Senate Submission..................................9

E n d - of - L i f e I s s u e s i n M e n ta l H e a lt h I n s t i t u t i on s People experiencing serious mental illness have been documented to suffer higher rates of mortality due to serious illness than the general population, yet paradoxically a lack of attention has been paid to the end-of-life needs of this population. As a response to this anomaly, a qualitative study by the International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research (IPP-SHR) has sought to place this issue on the agenda by beginning to explore important ethico-legal issues at the interface of palliative care and mental health. As part of this study, IPP-SHR researchers interviewed health professionals working at a Queensland centre for mental health with the aim of gaining insight into their experiences of providing end-of-life care to patients in an institutional mental health setting. A thematic analysis of these interviews indicated that an inherent tension exists at the interface of compassionate, patientcentred end-of-life care and participants’ perceptions of the legal restraints imposed by virtue of being in a mental health institution. For all participants, the most significant factor reported to impact upon their end-of-life decision making was the prescriptive nature of the legal framework within which they practiced. In particular, the necessity of coronial inquir-

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ies into all in-patient deaths and the legal imperative to engage in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), even when deemed medically futile, were found to inhibit practitioners’ ability to provide sensitive end-of-life care. This legal framework was reported to exert pressures and restrictions that obstruct the full integration of palliative care best practice into end-of-life care. Even when countered by organisational imperatives aimed at ensuring that end-of-life care is delivered in a dignified and culturally appropriate way, as set out in institutional standards of care, the legal framework, practitioners’ perceptions and fear of this, was found to be the key mediator of their responses to dying patients. The article explores the false assumptions participants had about the law. The findings of this research indicate the importance of mental health practitioners having a thorough understanding of the legal context of their practice at the interface of mental health and palliative care.


McGrath, P. & Forrester, K. (2006) ‘Ethico-legal issues in relation to end-of-life care and institutional mental health’, Australian Health Review, 30; International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research 3: 286-297.

October 2007

C E N T R A L Q U E E N S L A N D U N I V E R S I T Y, A U S T R A L I A

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Dear Reader,

The aim of the newsletter is to provide an international forum for the sharing of information on the psycho-social aspects of physical and mental health. We are keen to hear about the programs you are developing, the events you are sponsoring, or the research you are publishing. If you have news to share please contact us – we will help to pass the message on!

Off the Press @ IPP-SHR Only in recent decades has the important questions associated with defining and understanding the notion of spirituality been examined through the lens of academic research. At the forefront of this movement to explore spirituality, IPP-SHR has brought together its findings from multiple qualitative health research studies to define and understand spirituality and to explore the importance that this notion held for individuals coping with the impact of serious illness, as both patients and carers. This research started by building on and extending the central assumptions posited in existing international research literature in this area, which focused largely on two main notions. The

An often-asked and important question for psycho-social researchers is – ‘How can we show that our work is actually making a difference in the real world of health care?’ This issue of the Psycho-Social Update honours that question by reporting on a number of recent examples of IPP-SHR’s psycho-social research in action. In ‘Work-in-Progress’ we detail exciting evidence that our work on patient transport and accommodation issues for families, that have to relocate for specialist treatment, helped to initiate an Australian Commonwealth Senate Inquiry and is being used to inform health policy on this issue. In ‘Chat Back’ we hear the heartfelt message from a caring mother of a child with leukaemia as to how our work on the psycho-social impact of the drug Dexamethasone helps to normalise her experience. I hope these stories inspire and affirm the importance of the psychosocial enterprise. Please let us know of your successes – this is a significant issue that will always take priority in the newsletter and your stories are important for others to hear.


Defining Spirituality: From Meaning-making to Connection.

The message on the efficacy of psycho-social work comes with a timely reminder of the inequities in opportunity for research in developing countries. As outlined by Dr Thomas Koilparampil, Regional Cancer Care Centre, Trivandrum, India, there is a long way to go before the obstacles to research are overcome for developing countries. As always it is a privilege to continue to showcase the richness of psycho-social research from around the world. From Scotland we hear of the benefits of participation in qualitative research; from researchers in Canada, of priority setting in a Ugandan hospital, from Germany, of the psycho-social outcomes for live donors for liver transplantation, and from New Zealand, of managing uncertainty in relation to cardiac pain and panic attacks in an emergency ward setting.

first notion, that a clear distinction exists between religion and spirituality, was affirmed by IPP-SHR’s research and the implications of this dichotomy explored. The second assumption posited in existing spirituality literature - that spirituality is essentially about meaning-making - has been challenged by the findings from this research. Rather than consisting of abstract theoretical notions, for those coping with serious illness the experience of spirituality was implicitly tied to the lived experience and interpersonal connection.

those facing the challenges of serious illness.

It was found that the opportunity to engage in ‘connection-affirming talk’, whilst challenging for patients and loved ones, was central to supporting individual’s spiritual wellbeing. Thus giving permission to talk, appropriate timing, and finding sympathetic others outside the immediate family circle are key factors in facilitating this communication. Talking to others who had shared similar experiences was also found to be essential for those coping with serious illnesses, The findings have direct and impor- and this sharing was at times found to tant implications for the development offer more assistance than personal or of health policy and service delivery. professional relationships. They highlight the important role that holistic, community-based health care McGrath P., (2006) Defining Spirituservices play in addressing the needs ality: From Meaning-Making to Conof patients and their carers. The find- nection, in Religion and Psychology: ings also point to the strong need for a New Research, (ed)., Ambrose S., language for nonreligious spirituality, Nova Publishers, Hauppauge New to facilitate shared communication on York, USA. (ISBN: 1-60021-020-1). a topic that has central importance for

In conclusion, I would like to take the opportunity to remind our readers of our new venture into pod-casting and entreat you to visit our website to listen. We are aware of your busy lives and have kept the format short and focused. For those of you who receive the e-version of the newsletter it is just a matter of clicking on the pod-casting icon to hear any of our latest recordings. Many thanks for your ongoing interest and contributions! Happy reading!

Spirituality is defined by participants as interpersonal connection. Findings highlight the important role that holistic, community-based health care services play in addressing the spiritual needs of patients and their carers.

IPP-SHR Director Dr Pam McGrath NHMRC Senior Research Fellow IPP-SHR Director,


Psycho-Social Update (PSU)

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“It’s no skin off my nose”: why people take part in qualitative research. Location: Lothian, Scotland

Impaired psychosocial outcome of donors after living donor liver transplantation: a qualitative case study. Location: Berlin, Germany

As part of a longitudinal qualitative study looking at newly diagnosed patients’ perceptions of diabetes service provision in Lothian, Scotland, researchers have explored the factors that motivated participants to take part in the research. Participants taking part in the year-long study were asked to discuss why they initially decided to become involved in the study and what had motivated them to stay involved. Following a qualitative analysis of participants’ responses, four main themes emerged shedding light upon their motivation. Firstly, participants reported that the health context in which they had been recruited for the study had impacted upon their decision to become involved, with health professionals’ views of the study as helpful being influential. Secondly, altruism emerged as a major motivator for research participation, with patients’ citing the influence of their desire to help others. Thirdly, participants’ belief that they ‘had nothing to lose’ and their perception that qualitative research is an inherently safe activity contributed to their decision to be interviewed. The final major theme to emerge from the research related to participants feeling that the process of being interviewed was in itself therapeutic. This research makes an important contribution to understanding factors underpinning people’s decision to become involved in research projects and indicates that for many patients participation in qualitative health research is seen as a positive thing.

Adult-to-adult living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) of the right hepatic lobe has been developing into an established therapy for treating pre-terminal liver diseases. Unfortunately, scant knowledge has to date been available on the psychosocial outcomes of living donors. In response to this dearth of knowledge, a qualitative german study has aimed to investigate the patterns for impaired psychosocial outcomes experienced by donors after LDLT. Donor hepatectomies were performed in thirty donors at the Charité Berlin. Six months after surgery, six of the thirty donors with negative moods and physical complaints in psychometric monitoring were examined. The post-operative interviews were transcribed and analysed using current qualitative research methods. These six donors (20%) reported various unspecific complaints and psychological conflicts. Sadness was expressed about organ rejection and death of the recipient. Anxieties about the recipient and their own health were verbalised. Disappointment and anger refer to the experience that they were not as fully appreciated by the medical system and their social environment as expected. The negative emotions of donors with impaired psychosocial outcomes could be related to a decrease in self-esteem in the post-operative course. Adequate medical and psychological treatment opportunities for these donors should be provided. Publication Details: Walter, M., Papachristou, C., Pascher, A., Danzer, G., Neuhaus, P., Klapp, B.F. & Frommer, J. (2006) Impaired psychosocial outcome of donors after living donor liver transplantation: a qualitative case study. Clinical Transplantation. 20; 4: 410- 415.

Publication Details: Peel E., Parry O., Douglas M., & Lawton J. (2006) “It’s no skin off my nose” : why people take part in qualitative research. Qualitative Health Research. 16; 10: 1335- 1349.



Priority setting in developing countries health care institutions: the case of a Ugandan hospital. Location: Toronto, Canada With demand for health services outstripping resources availability, priority setting can be considered to be one of the most significant challenges facing health policy makers, particularly those in developing countries. In spite of this, there is presently a lack of literature to describe and evaluate priority setting within these contexts. In response to this, researchers have set out to describe how priority setting occurs in a large Ugandan teaching hospital and evaluate this description against an ethical framework for fair priority setting processes referred to as ‘Accountability for Reasonableness.’ In the course of this research, 70 in-depth interviews were conducted with a range of health professionals and planners and the results thematically analysed and evaluated using four conditions of accountability for reasonableness: relevance, publicity, revisions and enforcement. The findings of this research indicate that the priority setting decisions being made within the hospital did not reflect the conditions of fairness set out in the ethical framework. It was found that to improve this situation, it is necessary for the hospital to engage frontline practitioners, publicise the reasons for decisions both within the hospital and to the general public, and develop formal mechanisms for challenging the reasoning underpinning resource prioritisation. Furthermore, this research suggests that capacity strengthening is required for senior managers to enable them to accept responsibility for ensuring that the above three conditions are met. Publication Details: Kapiriri L., & Martin D. (2006) Priority setting in developing countries health care institutions: the case of a Ugandan hospital. BMC Health Services Research. 6; 122.


Psycho-Social Update (PSU)

A Look At PsychoSocial Health Research Cardiac pain or panic disorder? Managing Around The uncertainty in the emergency department Globe Location: Auckland, New Zealand Panic disorder can have a significant adverse impact upon the physical and mental wellbeing of sufferers, yet can be difficult for health professionals to recognise and diagnose. For some patients, panic disorder causes chest pain which may result in patient admission to hospital emergency departments. As a result, well developed nursing assessment and management responses to these patients are important. Responding to this, researchers in New Zealand have explored the challenges that panic disorder presents emergency department nurses. This qualitative study looked at emergency nurses' differentiation of non-cardiac chest pain from panic disorder and has raised significant issues in the nursing assessment and management of such clients. After gathering data through focus group interviews and analysing it qualitatively, three prominent themes - prioritising time, managing uncertainty and ambiguity, and the life-threatening lens - emerged. The findings confirm that biomedical assessment, when used in isolation, is not always effective at diagnosing panic disorder. The research highlights the importance of psychosocial assessment and affirms the important role that emergency nurses play in reversing the cycle of repeat presenters with non-cardiac chest pain. Publication Details: Hamer, H.O., & McCallin A.M. (2006) Cardiac pain or panic disorder? Managing uncertainty in the emergency department. Nursing Health Sciences. 8; 4: 224 -230.

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Canary Islands, Spain

International How Psycho-Social Research is used around the world

I am a Family and Community physician working as a research fellow in qualitative health research for the Canary Islands Health Care Services (SCS). I am very interested in moving from a positivist evidence based medicine to a more holistic evaluation of health care topics. I first worked on a methodological report about different ways of including findings of qualitative research in health technology assessment (available at and now I am interested in applying this method to a topic related to palliative care.

Perspectives International Perspective aims to give an insight into all aspects of psycho-social issues around the globe. Whether it is recent advances in innovative programs addressing psycho-social issues, musings about psycho -social practices, or an update on the relevance of psycho-social issues within your town, country or region, we are keen to hear from you. If you have anything you wish to share, give us a buzz, drop a line or flick us an email.

Research in Developing Countries - Why are they Behind? Whilst research has long been considered to be the backIndia bone of science, it is generally accorded very low priority in both developed and developing countries. This problem is compounded in developing countries, where a range of major obstacles to research exist, causing health and science research in some places to lag nearly a decade behind that of developing countries.

The Santa Cruz de Tenerife palliative care unit was created in 1997 and since this time has delivered a range of palliative care services to over 5000. Responsibility for these services is shared between the hospital palliative care unit and primary care centres, enabling flexibility of patient care. The hospital-based palliative care unit plays an important role in meeting the pain and symptom management and complex care needs of terminally ill patients. In a previous study we tried to identify indicators to evaluate the different models of organization of palliative care. But because in palliative care there are many issues related to social, spiritual and psychological areas, we realized that we need to add qualitative evidence in order to learn how to improve our palliative care services model. Our current study is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Health, and has the aim to answer the following question: What is the experience of patients, family and health care professionals with the model of palliative care services available to them? We are interested in identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each model of palliative care, and what should we focus on while evaluating palliative care services. The method of our study is a systematic review of qualitative studies related to palliative care. We will apply meta-ethnography techniques to synthesize studies and answer our research question. And, hopefully, add some value to the evaluation process of palliative care services. Our project should be finished by end of this year.

The research team involved in this project is multidisciplinary and is made up of: palliative care expert Dr. Miguel Angel Benítez; Dr. Pedro Serrano, chief of the evaluation unit of SCS; ENT specialist Dr. Inmaculada González who also has qualitative research expertise; anthropologist/sociologist Carmen Real; nurse expert in qualitative research Concepción García; and Analía Abt who is trained in anthropology and has experience in palliative care research. We have also been privileged to have Professor Nicky Britten as our methodology consultant in meta-ethnography. For further information please contact Dr Vinita Mahtani, email: Research team: Above left to right: Dr. Pedro Serrano, Concepción García, Dr. Miguel Angel Benítez and Analía Abt. Down left to right. Dr Vinita Mahtani, Dr. Inmaculada González and Carmen Real Background: El Teide Volcano, Tenerife, Spain.

Some of the most prominent obstacles to research being faced in developing countries include:

• Paucity of funds and faulty channelling of available resources; • Lack of production and availability of research materials, such as quality controlled reagents and chemicals; • The delay in getting research materials manufactured locally and the continued necessity of sourcing these vital materials from developed countries through import; • Difficulties encountered in accessing required equipment and the absence of custom analysis centres; • Lack of encouragement and financial support from parent institutions within developing countries; • Non-availability of up-to-date information and poor networking opportunities; • Lack of access to advanced training for scientists and researchers; • Lack of financial support to attend conferences, seminars, workshops and training programs seriously handicaps research scientists working within developing countries; • Lack of acceptance and recognition; • High poverty levels and low levels of literacy within the population; • Lack of proper transfer of technology via advanced training of scientists in major institutions, and exchange programs in institutions where related research activities have been conducted success fully with more advanced facilities; • Lack of job security for scientists as well as poor working conditions; • Other faults such as the unscientific approaches towards research by government agencies, un timely release of funds for sanctioned and ongoing projects, and erratic power supply; • Lack of research and development tie-ups and activities with industries; • Lack of proper planning.

Whilst significant, it is vital that these barriers to research are fully understood to enable researchers, government and industry groups, in both developing and developed countries, to work together to devise strategies through which they can be successfully overcome. For further information please contact Dr Thomas Koilparampil, email:


Psycho-Social Update (PSU)

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CHAT BACK Research Centre for Clinical Practice Innovation Griffith University The Research Centre for Clinical Practice Innovation (RCCPI) utilises rigorous, multi-method, collaborative research to develop innovative approaches of clinical health service delivery. The RCCPI works to promote excellence in health and community care by improving health services, patient outcomes and workforce capacity. This multi-disciplinary centre is constituted by 60 members, spanning Griffith University’s schools of Nursing, Human Services, Psychology and Pharmacy as well as several hospitals. A number of different research programs sit within the RCCPI, including ones focused on chronic disease, disability & rehabilitation; ageing and older people; women’s and family health, and acute and critical care. The RCCPI works to foster collaboration and is keen to link with new community partners and offers opportunities for membership, visiting scholarship, and local and international collaboration. For further information please go to:

F r o m T h e C o a l - F a c e Programs and Practitioners Primary Health Care Research & Information Service

A Chance To Reply

Dex Children - A Consumer’s Perspective I am a Mum of a pre-school child, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in the last year. We have just returned home after the past 6 months in a metropolitan hospital where my child was undergoing treatment. I approached the Leukaemia Foundation for assistance with some resources to be able to better cope with my daughters’ Jeckle and Hyde’ changes when she is on dexamethasone and they kindly forwarded me a copy of your article “Enough is Enough”. Thank you for researching this horrendous drug and its effects. I was so relieved after reading your article as I realised what she was experiencing was normal. There is so little information for parents available it seems, such that I am toying with the idea of writing down my own thoughts from a mothers (and psychologists) perspective on dexamethasone, its effects and some strategies for coping in the hope I could assist other parents. Ah, but there are so many other demands at present! Many thanks for your wonderful research Sandra Evans


Sandra refers to a body of IPP-SHR work undertaken during a five year longitudinal study exploring psycho-social issues associated with treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) and associated haematological maligancies. Further information on the study and access to literature associated with the project please visit

Publication Details: McGrath, P. & Pitcher, L. (2002) ‘Enough is Enough’: Qualitative Findings on the Impact of Dexamethasone During Re-Induction/Consolidation for Paediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, Supportive Care in Cancer. 10, 2: 146-155

The Primary Health Care Research and Information Service (PHC RIS) is both a source and a filter for quality primary health care resources and information, and through our website you can access practical information on a multitude of topics including mental health.

IPP-SHR is pleased to announce the launch of its updated website. Packed with user friendly features, Visitors can:

Freely available on our website is the database ROAR (Roadmap Of Australian primary health care Research). Listed in ROAR are research projects both current and completed; researcher profiles, which include the researcher’s photo, research interests and contact details; a list of funding organisations, and a list of primary health care research organisations, in which we would encourage you to join.

Another source of information about mental health in primary health care is the report of the Annual Survey of Divisions - a survey of all Divisions of General Practice that has been conducted since 1993-1994 (except the financial year 1996-1997). The surveys provide information about:

• Listen and subscribe to IPP-SHR Podcasts

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The number of Divisions conducting mental health programs or activities with a chronic disease focus (including what approaches they are using, who they are targeting and collaborating with); Details about Divisions conducting programs/activities specifically targeting people with a mental disability (new to the 2005-06 survey); Allied health professionals; which Divisions are funding Psychologists and to what extent (i.e. Full Time Equivalent)

In addition, PHC RIS provides a number of resources dedicated to improving dissemination processes, including fact sheets on getting the most out of conferences, giving better presentations, and sharing knowledge through research communities. PHC RIS also provides a weekly email Bulletin (eBulletin) that delivers timely and relevant primary health care news to your inbox.

Request full text PDF versions of all IPP-SHR articles and publications

• View information relating to current and previous projects

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• Order hardcopies of the PSU and IPP-SHR books • Find related News and Media Activities associated with Psycho Social Health Research and IPP-SHR • View and subscribe to the electronic edition of the PSU • Open Access PORTAL to the Austral- Asian Journal of Cancer

For more information about these products visit our website or call 1800 025 882 or contact me. Sarah Eckermann,



Psycho-Social Update (PSU)


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What is Open Access? IPP-SHR is committed to providing ease of access to all publications. If you see this symbol in the PSU it signifies that you can view the full text version online.

New Website

Resources you don’t know you need


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Journal and Book Profile Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer - OPEN ACCESS

Detailed insights into psycho-social health research

‘The Living Model’ : A Resource Manual for Indigenous Palliative Care Service Delivery


Pam McGrath Hamish Holewa

A Researchman Publication

“The Living Model” presents a flexible, detailed and unique model for appropriate Indigenous palliative care service delivery. The model has been developed from a two year NHRMC funded study exploring palliative care service delivery within Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory. The book provides researched descriptions of current service delivery paradigms and recommendations on overcoming obstacles to successful palliative care integration. SPECIAL PRICING FOR PSU SUBSCRIBERS

IPP-SHR podcasts explore the latest in the world of psycho-social health research. With thorough commentary, convenience of access and global coverage, catch up on the latest in psycho-social health news. Listen, read and participate. IPP-SHR provides full online access to podcasts, transcriptions and related links. Users can listen to the podcast and read any additional accompanying information, including articles, powerpoints, author or institution information. IPP-SHR has made it easy to listen to the podcast and users without subscription systems can automatically receive podcasts delivered to your email. Podcasting is easy - just read below.

Your hosts, Stasia Kail- Buckley & Michael Bouwman

L atest Podcasts

European Journal of Cancer Care The European Journal of Cancer Care provides a medium for communicating multiprofessional cancer care across Europe and internationally. The Journal publishes peer reviewed papers, reviews, reports, features and news, and provides a means of recording lively debate and an exchange of ideas.

Caring for young children with type 1 diabetes - the fathers’ perspective

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Fathers’ thoughts on caring for their young children with Type 1 diabetes. Stasia Kail-Buckley talked to Dr Sullivan-Bolyai about her study and article, the difficulties these fathers faced and their fears and achievements in learning how to care for and be a strong support in their child’s life. Publication details: Sullivan-Bolyai, A., Rosenberg, R., & Bayard, M. (2006) Fathers’ reflections on parenting young children with type 1 diabetes, The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 31,1: 24-31.

Living with Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma: A Guide to Patients and Families.

Autism and touch - positive outcomes gained from touch therapy

Living with Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma is a book designed to guide and provide a source of information for anyone diagnosed with a blood cancer. It provides an easy read that explores, with rich information and insights, the experience from the perspective of the patient and their family.

Positive outcomes gained from touch therapy for autistic children. Dr Powell and Stasia talked about the amazing outcomes these autistic children have had from touch therapy and the hurdles that were faced during the study.

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Publication details: Cullen L., Barlow J., Cushway D., (2005) Positive touch, the implications for parents and their children with autism: an exploratory study. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 11,3:182-9.

Community programs for disadvantaged mothers at high psycho-social risk

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If you have a book or journal that you would like to display in this profile please send a copy to PSU REVIEWS. PO BOX 796 TOOWONG Q 4066 AUSTRALIA

19th World Congress of World Association for Social Psychiatry (WASP): A Changing World: Challenges for Society and for Social Psychiatry. Prague, Czech Republic, 21-24 October, 2007, Palliative Care Nurses New Zealand (PCNNZ) One Day Conference & AGM. Wellington, New Zealand, 2 November, 2007. For more information, email:

Publication details: Rodrigo MJ; Máiquez ML; Correa AD; Martín JC; Rodríguez G (2006) Outcome evaluation of a community center-based program for mothers at high psychosocial risk. Child Abuse & Neglect, 30, 9: 1049-64

What is Podcasting?

or another subscription program. You can use these programs when you see the icon to the right.

Oncology Social Work Australia (OSWA) National Meeting, Psychosocial Care: Mind, Body and Spirit. Adelaide, SA, Australia, 16-17 November, 2007. For more information,

Podcasts are digital audio files that you can listen to on your computer or portable music device (IPod, Mobile phone, I-River). Podcasting gives you the flexibility to listen to your favourite programs at a time, method and place which is convenient to you.

3. Email Updates - Subscribe to the email update. When a new podcast is released an email will be automatically sent to your nominated address with a link to the podcast.

The Australasian Bioethics Association and Australian and New Zealand Institute of Health Law and Ethics 2007 Conference. The University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia, 28 November – 1 December 2007,

IPP-SHR provides four methods of listening to our podcast. 1. Audio-on-Demand - Listen online or download from the IPPSHR website. Just click on the Podcast Icon,

What’s What’s Fair @ Anti-Poverty Week 2007. VIC, Australia, 14-20 October, 2007,

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Professor Maria Jose Rodrigo- Lopez, who has been involved with a Spanish study evaluating a community centre-based program for poorly-educated mothers from multi-problem families who showed inadequate behaviour with their children, and are at high psychological risk. Hamish and Professor Rodrigo-Lopez discussed her involvement in this program, how the program is run and its effectiveness.


World Psychiatric Association (WPA) European Congress. Paris, France, 6-9 February, 2008, http://www.wpa2008paris. com

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4. Listen Through the PSU - Click on the podcast icon of the electronic version of the PSU and it will automatically play on your computer! These icons relate to an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed. It is used as a convenient method of subscribing to content that is regularly changing. Once subscribed, you do not need to visit the website to view updated content as the RSS reader will automatically download it to your computer. When you see this icon you can use it to subscribe to a podcast.

w w w. i p p - s h r . c q u . e d u . a u / p od c a s t s

Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer (ISSN-0972-2556) is the first international cancer journal published within Asia and Australia. This journal is a multidisciplinary oncology journal covering all aspects of cancer treatment and research including scientific, clinical and psycho-social. Free online access to the community of researchers and full text articles are available at:


IPP-SHR Podcasts

Pat i e n t A s s i s t e d T r av e l - S e n at e I n q ui ry Wor k

i n

Pro g r e ss

Reinforcing the power of qualitative research to make a difference in the real world of health care services for patients and their families, the research of IPP-SHR Director, Dr Pam McGrath, has made a valuable contribution to an Australian Senate Committee Inquiry into patient assisted travel schemes (PATS). Within Australia, these support schemes, administered separately by each state, are designed to provide financial aid to patients and families forced to relocate from regional, rural and remote locations to the major metropolitan hospitals for specialist treatment. The inquiry was called in response to concerns tabled by Western Australian Senator Judith Adams about the long standing and ongoing problems with the administration of the schemes. These concerns echo the major findings of Dr McGrath’s work that collectively indicates that whilst patient assisted travel schemes are a vital, much needed component of Australia’s health system, their utilisation is severely inhibited by a range of administrative factors and funding constraints. This has a direct impact on issues of equity of access to health care services. These important findings were presented in a range of submissions to the Inquiry and further reinforced when IPP-SHR researcher, Dr Pam McGrath was subsequently called as a witness to give evidence on this work.


The body of research highlights the extreme financial, emotional and physical stress experienced by both patients and families forced to relocate for specialist treatment and the fact that this stress often goes unrecognised by those with decision making power. Also documented were problems associated with eligibility criteria, uneven access to support and significant gaps in consumer awareness of the support available. Full details of the publications are listed on the IPP-SHR website. For many rural and remote patients, the phone is the only viable link back home

Affirming the value of IPP-SHR’s contribution to this Inquiry, many of the sixteen recommendations made by the Senate Committee respond to the concerns raised by IPP-SHR researchers. The Committee report, Highway to health: better access for rural, regional and remote patients, can be accessed at /report/index.htm




Click Here to View Senate Submission

Highlighting innovative use of information technology products for Psycho-Social Health Research

It’s almost everywhere people are, you can’t see it, but it is full of information. For this issue of r-E-search we will explore some of the popular choices from the plethora of wireless services and devices that allow you to remain in touch whilst away from the office.

Blackberry – or as more aptly named by Washington bureaucrats due to its addictive tendencies – Crackberry, is in essence, one of the first devices which combined portable, global roaming email and phone access. Use of this device allows users to receive and send emails from a portable device provided you are within mobile phone reception. Response to an email is simply banging out the message on the QUERTY keyboard, albeit small. Although, Blackberry holds a dominating position in the market, there are a variety of alternatives vying for contention, including, smart phones, PDA’s and small wireless computing devices.

Hamish Holewa IPP-SHR Program Manager

GPRS/ GSM/ 3G Cards/ USB – TLA’s (Three letter acronyms) are as prevalent in IT as is water to an ocean. These cards or USB dongles attach to your laptop and allow users to access a mobile phone carrier’s network and access the Internet. So, anywhere that you can access the mobile phone signal, you can access the Internet, although speed and coverage depend upon signal coverage and you need to have a contract with the particular mobile phone company. However, they are very convenient as you have full computer functionality (big screen, keyboard, familiar interface), although due to the constant transmission of signals, they can eat into battery time. Wireless WIFI – Perhaps the most widely used and accessible form of on-the-go communication avenues, wireless offers users the ability to access the Internet. Hardware, is usually standard on modern laptops and network access is controlled by the operating system or third party application. “Hot spots” or free wireless access points can sometimes be found around airports, coffee shops or other public places. Although convenient and easy to use due to limited hardware requirements, wireless signals generally can not travel that far, and for an ‘always on’ connection they are generally unreliable. A few experiments have been conducted in blanket coverage of San Francisco and Chicago, offering free wireless to most parts of the city, although rollout progress is slow due to business case modelling. Perhaps there will be increased interest in blanket coverage for additional cities when the new wireless standard is ratified – called WiMax, which is claiming to offer access distances of up to 10 kilometres compared to current wireless configurations (802.11 a,b ,g) offering 50 to 100 metres.

Mobile phone networks are becoming increasingly common for Internet access

For convenience and assurance of Internet access when needed, the Blackberry or Mobile Cards/ USB dongles are your best bet. However, they do come at a cost and usually bundled with a fixed term contract. For cheaper but less reliable and consistent service access, wireless is best for non-mission critical applications. However, one thing is for sure, the future is all up in the air!


International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research CENTRAL QUEENSLAND UNIVERSITY

Contact Details: IPP-SHR, Central Qld University, Brisbane Office, PO BOX 796 TOOWONG Q 4066 AUSTRALIA + 61 7 3374 1792 or +61 7 3720 8084

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