Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist October 2015 Contents FEATURE
Karalyn says that in her experience grey nomads are
generally pretty well organised.
‘First-timers tend to travel with a group till they
find their way. The biggest problems are controlled
drugs as different states have different rules and
we cannot always dispense interstate prescriptions,
plus controlled drug prescriptions only last for six
months,’ she says.
‘Access to special chemotherapy and neoplastics
can be difficult especially if it is a medication
that needs manufacturing. They have to stay in a
location long enough for the drug to come to them.
‘I have had grey nomads lose everything when
their caravan has been washed off a causeway.
They came in with a mush that were once
prescriptions and hoped we could save them.
We of course could do this!
Useful resources for would‐be
The Broome hospital has 60 beds. According to a report in the
Border Mail on 2 August 2015 there was a 287% increase in the
number of patients aged 70–79 from April to August this year and a
233% increase in patients aged 60–69 years compared with rest of
April to August is the peak migration time for grey nomads as they head
north across the Savannah Way, as the 3,700 km route linking Broome
and Cairns is known.
Many grey nomads who strike health trouble head for the nearest
hospital only to find it is a small clinic with a full tie nurse and a fly
Dr Sue Phillip, the Senior Medical Officer at Broome Health Campus
told the Border Mail that grey nomads work really hard to drive their
caravan to Broome. ‘ They promptly decompensate and have their
heart attack as they are coming down the Broome highway,’ she said.
This highlights the serious need for grey nomads to do their
homework and know their limitations. There are some useful sources
of information for would-be grey nomads to access before they hitch
up the caravan and hit the road.
• Food safety for grey nomads: www.avanclubaust.org.au
• Travel advice for grey nomads: www.healthywa.wa.gov.au
• The Grey Nomad’s Guidebook: www.panmacmillan.com.au
• Theodore medical: www.theodoremedical.com.au/grey-nomads
• The grey nomads: www.thegreynomads.com.au
• The grey nomads Australia: www.greynomadsaustralia.com.au
• Starts at sixty: www.startsatsixty.com.au
‘My saddest case was a couple in their early 50s
who had a serious car accident and the wife was
in a coma. As everything was in joint names at
their bank the husband quickly found he could
not access anything without her signature which
‘ We had to get a crisis intervention for him and it
took a lot of work to get him basic finance.
‘Grey Nomads must ensure they have enduring
power of attorney.’
Karalyn says another factor to take into account
is that many are travelling to enjoy their last days
together as one partner has a life ending illness.
‘At times I see that the carer is quite exhausted
during this journey. Planning long-enough stays in
one location to rebuild the stamina and get over
the tiredness of continually caring for a loved one is
important to reduce fatigue,’ she says.
‘ There are other planning issues as
well. I recently saw a young nomad in a
campervan with two small kids who could
not calculate the number of kilometres
for the fuel range of her car. That can
‘ They also need to understand that fuel
and food will be more expensive as they
go further remote. I have talked to a few
who have under calculated their budgets
as they were not aware how expensive fuel
can be off the beaten track.’
Australian Pharmacist October 2015 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Karalyn has a few other tips.
‘ The beauty of our amazing country will astound travellers
but they will also be annoyed by roadworks, flooding,
cyclones and bad drivers,’ she says.
‘Being aware of the cycles of weather in the locations
they are visiting and pre planning to avoid things like
the Monsoon season is a good idea. Do not rely on a cell
phone for navigation as there are large areas out there
‘ They will be bitten by things; drink bad water and eat things
that upset them. They will suffer wind and sun burn and
probably a cut or two. So a good first aid kit with some basics
is good. Replenish the used bits when in a town.
‘Carry plenty of fresh water in the car. Have a good trip!’
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