Medical and allied health staff self-reported long-term conditions: findings from a regional Australian health service

Smyth, Wendy, Lindsay, David, Brennan, Daryl, and Lindsay, Daniel (2017) Medical and allied health staff self-reported long-term conditions: findings from a regional Australian health service. International Journal of Workplace Health Managment, 10 (6). pp. 418-433.

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe the self-reported long-term conditions of medical officers and allied health staff working in a regional public health service in northern Australia and how these are managed.

Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional survey design was used. The sample was all medical officers and allied health staff employed in mid-2015.

Findings: Of the 365 respondents, 217 (59.5%) reported having at least one long-term condition. There was a statistically significant association between professional group and the number of long-term conditions reported, χ2=10.24, p<0.05. A greater proportion of medical officers (n=29, 43.9%) reported having only one long-term condition compared with allied health staff (n=36, 24.5%). The top four categories of conditions were respiratory, musculo-skeletal, mental health, and episodic and paroxysmal, although the patterns varied amongst the professional groups, and across age groups. Respondents usually managed their main long-term conditions with personal strategies, rarely using workplace strategies.

Research limitations/implications: Although somewhat low, the response rate of 32% was similar to previous surveys in this health service. Since this survey, the health service has implemented a broad Health and Wellness Program to support their qualified workforce. Future evaluations of this program will be undertaken, including whether the program has assisted health professionals to manage their long-term conditions.

Practical implications: There is an urgent need for targeted, workplace-based health promotion strategies to support staff with long term conditions. Such strategies would complement self-management approaches, and also provide an important recruitment and retention initiative.

Originality/value: This study adds empirical evidence regarding the long-term conditions among health professionals and their self-management strategies. Little is known about the long-term conditions among the various health professional groups and the findings thus make an important contribution to existing literature.

Item ID: 51479
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1753-836X
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2017 05:27
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420399 Health services and systems not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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