As a result of their health, or in order to improve or maintain their health, people may undertake a range of actions. For example, people may use health services such as general practitioners or hospitals. They may have to take time off work or study because of ill-health. Additionally, they may utilise particular health services designed to promote healthy lifestyles and thus decrease the risk of illness and injury.
In the 2011-13 Australian Health Survey (AHS), information was collected both on actions taken by the general population in relation to their health, as well as on actions taken by respondents with selected long-term health conditions in relation to these conditions. Actions information was collected in a number of modules in the National Health Survey (NHS) component of the AHS.
In order to adequately collect information, some information was collected for the last 2 weeks, while other information for the last 12 months. For example, the 2 week reference period was used for use of medications, as respondents' recall is considered to be more accurate in this time frame.
Healthy Lifestyles module
The Healthy Lifestyles module collected information about all persons in the NHS and asked questions about the following:
- consultations with health professionals, including frequency of visits;
- use of medical facilities such as hospitals and clinics;
- discussion of lifestyle issues with a General Practitioner; and,
- days away from work or study/school for one's own illness or injury, or to care for someone else.
More detailed information can be found in the Healthy Lifestyles
section of this chapter and the Healthy Lifestyles module in the NHS questionnaire
module is a generic set of questions which was asked of respondents who had any diagnosed and current conditions within the following condition groups:
- a heart and/or circulatory condition(s);
- kidney disease;
- diabetes/high sugar levels;
- a mental or behavioural condition.
The Actions module was asked for every condition above, for which the respondent had a condition. Respondents with more than one condition within a group were only asked the Actions questions once for that group. For example, a person with a heart condition and two types of cancer answered the Actions module once in relation to their heart condition and once in relation to their cancer.
Information collected included:
- consultations with health professionals for the respective long-term health condition;
- use of medical facilities (admissions to hospital, visits to emergency/casualty and visits to clinics) for the respective long-term health condition; and
- days away from work or study/school in the last 12 months due to the respective long-term health conditions.
More detailed information can be found in Actions for specific long-term conditions
sections of this chapter and the Actions module in the NHS questionnaire
Specific long-term condition modules
Additional condition-specific health actions questions were asked in each of the specific long-term health condition modules of the survey. These conditions were:
- heart and/or circulatory condition(s);
- diabetes/high sugar levels; and,
- mental or behavioural conditions.
More detailed information can be found in the Other actions for selected conditions
section of this chapter and relevant condition-specific modules in the NHS questionnaire
Use of medications
In the 2011-12 NHS respondents were asked to provide information about all of the types of medications they were currently taking, including supplements and minerals. This differs from previous surveys in which respondents were asked to provide information about medication use for specific long-term health conditions only.
More detailed information can be found in the Use of medications
section of this chapter and the Medications module in the NHS questionnaire