Psychosocial – Rural

Although Bright has a small hospital, they do not have any specific paediatricians, let alone spina bifida specialists.  Bright is situated over an hour away from the two nearest regional centres (Albury-Wodonga (110kms), or Wangaratta (80kms)) or 3 ½ hours from Melbourne, of which a substantial amount of time is spent on poor quality country roads.


With a population of only 2200 residents, it is unlikely there would many cases of spina bifida in the history of the town.  Therefore it is reasonable to assume that it is a medical problem poorly understood by the majority, especially the school age children Janet would have to mix with.  Although Bright College (prep to year 12) is fitted with good quality disabled facilities, the psychological support offered to Janet would be limited.


In considering this information, what follows is a quick summary of issues Janet might be facing:

          Inability to access immediate, good quality emergency health services

          Long drive times to access regular check-ups with specialists: this could put a strain on the family budget with petrol costs, and her mum requiring to take time off work

          Extra time driving on country roads, which is a significant risk factor for car accidents, especially in the winter months (icy roads/snow)

          Prejudice from the community

          Limited access to school programs for students with disabilities (because there wouldn’t be the numbers to secure funding)


However, the nature of Bright’s small town mentality means that Janet’s family would be quite likely to receive extra support from community members – an unofficial system which doesn’t operate in the city.


~ by pcl4 on October 16, 2008.

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