Journey Towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Cultural Safety eLearning
Authors: Nissa Villegas, Organisational Development Business Partner; Kerrie Brown, Aboriginal Services Development
AWH plays a role in improving
health outcomes of Aboriginal people. By enhancing our cultural awareness we
develop stronger relationships and promote culturally safe environments, which
lead to better health care outcomes for all Aboriginal patients and clients
using our health services.
Our new and bespoke Towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Cultural Safety eLearning program has been developed in collaboration
with Aboriginal employees, local community members and other local
organisations. In coming together, we ensure that our local Aboriginal
community is appropriately represented and that learning is tailored for
community and workforce needs.
The interactive eLearning program covers aspects of the
Aboriginal journey from pre-colonisation to today. A variety of learning
activities have been used, making the content not only informative, but
engaging. It includes stories of people in our community to powerfully
illustrate needs around human-centred and culturally safe healthcare. Local Aboriginal
artists work is also used throughout the program, enabling us to showcase local
talent and further contextualise learning for our team members.
To date over 935 staff have completed the eLearning in just over 4 months
however figures alone do not illustrate the impact the learning is having. Some
weeks ago, we received unsolicited feedback from a staff member describing how
informative and engaging the learning was. What was more powerful was that she
shared and discussed what she had learnt with family members.
By coming together with our Aboriginal employees and
community members, we have been able to and
deliver innovative learning that is vibrant, engaging and impactful but most
importantly, centred on improving our understanding of Aboriginal culture,
history and safety needs. Our journey continues and the more we come together
with our Aboriginal community members the better we will be at living
This initiative was undertaken as a partnership between our
Aboriginal employees, Organisational Development and representatives from our
local Aboriginal community.
Disability Action Plan
Author: Kylie Mason, Disability Liaison Officer
At AWH we want everybody in our community to be able to access our health services in an inclusive and respectful way. We want all people to be treated in a way so they feel valued, supported and offered the same opportunities for participation. Following a Community Forum and further consultation with people with disabilities, families, carers, local disability agencies and AWH staff, a new Disability Action Plan for 2019 – 2021 was developed. This Action Plan built on earlier achievements and plans.
One in five Australians has some form of disability and rates of disability increase as people age. AWH recognises that our services needs to be well equipped to meet the needs of people with disability and all those that support them.
We are proud to showcase some of the achievements over that time as we continue to move forward with developing stronger understanding, processes, consultation, opportunities, innovations and physical spaces which support inclusion and access for people with disability.
Access to communication and information is a significant part of the Disability Action Plan with improvements made across numerous areas. The AWH Website is undertaking a review for accessibility features. Improvements include increasing the website’s usability for people requiring screen reader software, reducing the complexity of the text and incorporating links for those preferring health information in Easy Read formats or languages other than English. A designated page has been established for Access and Inclusivity information which highlight access supports and services available to the public. These supports include location of disabled car parking, location of accessible toilets, local disability services and making use of Volunteer Concierge services. All patient information handouts, forms and brochures are routinely checked by the ORCHID committee with a focus on avoiding jargon and increasing readability. Low literacy versions of some health information including Action Plans for COPD and Heart Failure are increasingly being utilised on the wards and in chronic health disease services.
Staff at AWH are aware of the variety of different needs of all people who come through the door. Our Disability Action Plan ensures that we consistently review our policies and practices to reflect the needs and diversity of the community. Specific focus and resources have been invested to increase education, adjust policies and improve patient outcomes across several areas which are highly relevant to people with disability including identification and management of cognitive impairment, trauma informed practice and responding to family violence to name just a few.
The appointment of a Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) has been a noteworthy addition to the Disability Action Plan and services available for people with disability. The Disability Liaison Officer has had a focus on increasing access for people with disability to COVID related services including testing and vaccination. The Vaccination Hub has worked extensively with the DLO to ensure full accessibility and supports for staff including Social Stories for having a vaccination, information in Easy Read formats, access to Assisted Listening devices and inclusive media campaigns. Ongoing development of relationships between AWH, local people with disability, their family and carers and Disability Service Providers will support the future initiatives as we strive to provide inclusive health services so that everyone can thrive.
Please read here for more information on the journey AWH has taken to build on access and inclusivity.
Artwork Competition Winner: Maramayart
Author: Kerrie Brown, Aboriginal Services Development
In 2020 AWH called on local
Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists to enter an art competition with the
successful piece becoming our brand for Aboriginal Health. The entrants needed
to show the relationship between the local area and the health services that
AWH provide. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people use art as a form of
connection of culture, knowledge and beliefs.
piece chosen by AWH Board of Directors, was by Tamara Murray,
Maramayart. This beautiful piece of contemporary artwork will assist AWH
in creating a welcoming environment to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander community and provide a point of conversation about the story of
connection between our community and their health needs.
This piece represents the connection between
Indigenous Australians and the Albury Wodonga Health service. On the left side
are Indigenous people reaching out and connecting with local health services.
There are many meeting places shown, reflecting the multi-faceted approach of Albury
Wodonga Health. The middle section shows Albury Wodonga Health and to the right
of AWH are three connecting circles, showing the importance of family,
community and local health services in achieving holistic, spiritual and
culturally appropriate health support for local Indigenous people.