Oral Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

Using Aboriginal cultural practice (yarning) as a tool toward healing in cardiac care (#69)

Shawana Andrews 1 , Karen Daws 2 , Ashima Gupta 2
  1. The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
  2. St Vincent's Hospital , Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, accounting for 17 per cent of the burden of disease and 26 per cent of the mortality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people[1]. Contributing to this is the significant under-representation of Aboriginal people accessing cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention services after an episode of care. 

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne cares for approximately 120 patients per year who are admitted for cardiovascular disease. This presentation will summarise the results of a 12 month project which identified multiple systems changes that would improve the hospital’s culturally responsive practice. In particular, a key outcome of the project was the development of a strengths-based Aboriginal patient engagement tool called the ‘healthy yarning model’. The model introduces nurses to an Aboriginal cultural practice (yarning), which is intended to function as a protective factor and a tool toward healing in cardiac care.

The process of engaging Aboriginal cardiac patients in their everyday care through yarning, as a culturally responsive method of communication, provides an environment that builds resilience, serves as a buffer to the stressors of hospital and at times has the potential to positively impact upon cardiovascular risk factors. Resulting in a real engagement with their care and with the hospital staff, we aim for this model to be the foundation upon which patients may build the confidence and resilience to access secondary prevention services upon discharge.

  1. National Heart Foundation of Australia (2015)