Australia is a large country with 60% of land used for agricultural production. Its interior is sparsely populated, with higher morbidity and mortality recorded in rural areas, particularly farmers, farm families, and agricultural workers. Rural health professionals in addressing health education gaps of farming groups have reported using behavioralist approaches. These approaches in isolation have been criticized as disempowering for participants who are identified as passive learners or 'empty vessels.' A major challenge in rural health practice is to develop more inclusive and innovative models in building improved health outcomes. The Sustainable Farm Families Train the Trainer (SFFTTT) model is a 5-day program developed by Western District Health Service designed to enhance practice among health professionals working with farm families in Australia. This innovative model of addressing farmer health asks health professionals to understand the context of the farm family and encourages them to value the experience and existing knowledge of the farmer, the family and the farm business. The SFFTTT program has engaged with health agencies, community, government, and industry groups across Australia and over 120 rural nurses have been trained since 2005. These trainers have successfully delivered programs to 1000 farm families, with high participant completion, positive evaluation, and improved health indicators. Rural professionals report changes in how they approach health education, clinical practice, and promotion with farm families and agricultural industries. This paper highlights the success of SFFTTT as an effective tool in enhancing primary health practice in rural and remote settings. The program is benefiting not only drought ravaged farmers but assisting rural nurses, health agencies, and health boards to engage with farm families at a level not identified previously. Furthermore, nurses and health professionals are now embracing a more 'farmer-centered model of care.'
Agricultural-industry; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Behavior-patterns; Demographic-characteristics; Education; Environmental-hazards; Epidemiology; Families; Farmers; Health-hazards; Health-programs; Health-services; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Medical-care; Medical-facilities; Medical-monitoring; Medical-services; Medical-treatment; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Statistical-analysis; Training; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Worker-health; Work-operations; Work-practices;
Author Keywords: Family; farm; health; nursing; farmer; attitudes; rural
Susan Brumby, Western District Health Service, PO Box 283, Hamilton 3300, Australia