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Defence, General News

Expert Alert: Rural veterans’ lack of rehabilitation access

La Trobe University 2 mins read

As Australians and New Zealanders pause to remember those who’ve fallen, La Trobe University expert Dr Kylie Carra, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, is available to discuss the transition from military service to civilian life and the challenges faced by veterans, particularly those in regional and rural areas.

Dr Kylie Carra
Senior Lecturer and Discipline Lead of Occupational Therapy at La Trobe’s Rural Health School in Bendigo.
E: M: 0400 396 961

Dr Carra can discuss the following topics:

  • Health and psychosocial adjustments during transition from military service to civilian life.
  • Enhancing occupational therapy service provision with military veterans through policy reform
  • Rural former service members participating in meaningful occupations to ‘fill the void’ after military service
  • Service and demographic factors, health, trauma exposure, and participation are associated with adjustment for former Australian Defence Force members

The following can be attributed to Dr Kylie Carra:

“Almost half a million Australians have served with the Australian Defence Force. Yet, at least anecdotally, former service members describe immense difficulty accessing the rehabilitation services they need.

“We surveyed 123 occupational therapists to hear their experiences of providing services for returned service members. Therapists in the study consistently described inadequate funding, complex administrative processes, and limited support to upskill in this specialised area of practice.

“This is alarming given that former service members are twice as likely than the general population to have health conditions such as depression, anxiety, cancer, heart disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, and stroke.

“It means that former service members are not consistently able to participate in evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and vocational rehabilitation.

“Provision of services was even more complicated in rural areas, with therapists describing not being adequately compensated for travel and administrative costs.

“More funding is urgently needed to support the rollout of recommendations from the Joint Transition Taskforce and Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide.”

Read Dr Carra’s recent study:Enhancing occupational therapy service provision with military veterans through policy reform 

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*Veteran case study available on request.

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