Historically, maternal and child health delivered through primary health care services has focused on the management of women’s pregnancies and infant health and development rather than support and care for the whole family, their lives and wellbeing concerns. The concept of family centred health care for children originated more than 35 years ago through the ecological theory of child development of Bronfenbrenner (1979) which stressed the importance of considering not only the immediate family but also the extended family and environment when working with children (Hammer, 1998). The concept also draws on the theories of patient-centred care (Dwamena et al, 2012). Primary health services have attempted to implement family centred models into practice as ‘a way of caring for children and their families within health services which ensures that care is planned around the whole family, not just the individual child/person, and in which all the family members are recognised as care recipients’ (Nixon, 1988). Griew, Tilton et al. (2007), however warned that we need to be careful of assumptions about the construction of Indigenous families.
This presentation will examine models of Indigenous family centred care and how they are implemented in practice. The presentation will be based on findings of a scoping review of the international Indigenous literature and an evaluation of one family centred model of early child health care through Apunipima Cape York Health Council’s Baby One Program. Included will be an analysis of the impetus for implementing Indigenous family centred models of early child health care, the process and strategies by which they are implemented, and barriers and enablers to implementation. Finally, the effects of family centred models delivered by primary health care services will be outlined along with the significance of such models for the provision of Indigenous early child health care.