Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

RECONNECT Strengthening clinical care and pathways for Aboriginal people in the Baw Baw Shire (#238)

Leearna E Earwicker 1 , Melissa D Burton 1 , Troy Jennings 1
  1. West Gippsland Healthcare Group, Warragul, VIC, Australia

The Reconnect Project explored: ‘where Aboriginal people in Baw Baw Shire go when they are unwell; how they access West Gippsland Healthcare Group (WGHG) services; and what happens after they do’. Initially the project was proposed in response to anecdotal evidence of low numbers of Aboriginal people accessing medical oncology and palliative care services in Gippsland. Consultation elicited limited responses from the Aboriginal community regarding discussions on cancer and palliative care experiences, and preliminary data collection identified very small numbers of Aboriginal people accessing these services. The aims of the Reconnect Project were reconsidered and expanded more broadly.

Local Aboriginal community stories were uncovered, collected and considered. Local opportunities for collaboration were revisited and explored with WGHG Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officer (AHLO), external service providers including the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO), mainstream General Practitioners (GP), Gippsland Primary Health Network (GPHN), Deadly Sport Gippsland and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The role and referral processes to and from WGHG AHLO was explored and reviewed.

Recommendations were advised and operationalised. This included formalised referral pathways for Aboriginal people accessing WGHG and other health services, improved follow up and support for Aboriginal people accessing and discharging from WGHG and the possible implementation of a screening clinic for all Aboriginal people who access WGHG in partnership with GPs and the local ACCHO.

This presentation will discuss the consideration of learnings and findings of the project and subsequent implementation of the recommendations. It will outline how WGHG has developed service improvement access for the local Aboriginal population.