Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) People with disability in Australia 2020: in brief, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 04 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). People with disability in Australia 2020: in brief. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia-2020-in-brief
People with disability in Australia 2020: in brief. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 02 October 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia-2020-in-brief
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. People with disability in Australia 2020: in brief [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020 [cited 2022 Jul. 4]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia-2020-in-brief
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2020, People with disability in Australia 2020: in brief, viewed 4 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/people-with-disability-in-australia-2020-in-brief
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Some people with disability experience poor health, engage in behaviours that increase their risk of poor health, or experience barriers (such as cost) in accessing or using health services.
Based on self-reported data, people with disability are more likely to have poorer general and mental health than people without disability.
(a) Living in households (2017–18).
(a) K10 is a survey device used to measure non-specific psychological distress in people.
(b) Living in households (2017–18).
For more information, including breakdowns by sex and age, and lists of data sources, see the full web report.
Health risk factors and behaviours (such as poor diet, physical inactivity, and smoking) can have a detrimental effect on a person’s health. In general, people with disability are more likely to engage in some risky health behaviours than people without disability.
Selected health risk factor and behaviour
Do not eat enough fruit and vegetables each day (aged 2+)
Drink sugar-sweetened drinks daily (aged 2+)
Are overweight or obese based on measured body mass index
Have an increased risk of poor health based on measured waist circumference (aged 18+)
Do not do enough physical activity for their age (including at work)
Have hypertension (aged 18+)
Smoke daily (aged 15+)
Exceed the guidelines for lifetime risk for alcohol consumption
Exceed the guidelines for single occasion risk for alcohol consumption (aged 15+)(c)
(a) Living in households (2017–18).
(b) Consumed more than 2 standard drinks of alcohol per day on average in the past week.
(c) Consumed more than 4 standard drinks of alcohol on a single occasion in the past year.
Some people with disability experience difficulties accessing and using health services. Barriers include longer than desired waiting times, the cost of services, the accessibility of buildings, discrimination by health professionals, and a lack of communication between health professionals.
Experience of people with disability
1 in 4 (24%) who see a general practitioner (GP) wait longer than they feel is acceptable to get an appointment
3 in 10 (29%) wait 1 or more days after making an appointment to see a GP for urgent medical care
7 in 10 (70%) who have been on a public dental waiting list wait 1 month to more than 1 year for dental care
1 in 13 (7.6%) who need to see a GP delay or do not go because of the cost
1 in 22 (4.6%) who need to see a medical specialist do not go mainly because of the cost
3 in 10 (28%) who need to see a dental professional delay or do not go because of the cost
1 in 28 (3.6%) who need to go to hospital delay or do not go because of the cost
Communication between health professionals(a)
1 in 5 (21%) who see 3 or more health professionals for the same health condition report issues caused by lack of communication among them
1 in 29 (3.5%) experience disability discrimination from health staff (GP, nurse or hospital staff)
1 in 8 (12%) have difficulty accessing medical facilities (GP, dentist or hospital)
Unmet need for health care(d)
1 in 5 (18%) who need help with health-care activities have their need only partly met or not met at all
(a) Aged under 65 living in households, in the last 12 months (2018).
(b) Aged 15–64 living in households, in the last 12 months (2018).
(c) Aged 5–64 living in households who need assistance or have difficulty with communication or mobility, in the last 12 months (2018).
(d) Aged 5–64 living in households (2018).
Current data make it difficult to directly compare health-care access issues for people with disability with those for people without disability. However, available data suggest that people with disability are more likely than the general Australian population to face barriers, such as cost, when accessing some types of health services.
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