Disability support services in Queensland, Australia: Identifying service gaps through spatial analysis
Authors: Ali Lakhania, Sanjoti Parekha, Ori, Gudes, Peter Grimbeekc, Peter, Harre, Jocelyn Stockerd, Elizabeth Kendall
A dearth of research has utilized spatial research methods to clarify the dispersion of disability specific services in relation to people with disability in priority areas, and urban and remote settings. Consequently, this study sought to investigate the dispersion of disability support services for people in localities within Queensland, Australia. Four datasets from two sources were used to establish (i) the geographic dispersion of disability support services in relation to localities within three regional disability level classifications (areas having high, low, or intermediate levels of disability), and (ii) the level of remoteness of localities within the three regional disability level classifications. Two separate hotspot analyses were conducted to ascertain regions with high, low, or intermediate numbers and percentages of people with disability in Queensland. Furthermore, network analyses were conducted to ascertain the travel time among localities within these settings. Finally, inferential analyses using the Kruskal-Wallis test were conducted to ascertain the difference in travel times to disability support services across localities within the three regional disability level classifications, and simple linear regressions were conducted to clarify the association between locality regional disability level classification and remoteness. The findings confirm that localities within areas classified as having low numbers or percentages of people with disability experience significantly higher travel times to all disability support service types: support and advocacy, aids and equipment, and information and referral. The findings also confirm that these localities are associated with having a higher level of remoteness. The study findings suggest that areas with low numbers and percentages of people with disability in Queensland may be lacking proximately available disability support services. Furthermore, the study adds evidence to the notion that people with disability in rural and remote areas may be moving to urban centres to be closer to services.