Almost half of Aboriginal men and over a third of Aboriginal women die before they turn 45.
The median age of Aboriginal people at death is 53, which is 25 years less than for the Australian population as a whole.
“When the life expectancy of indigenous Australians is so much less than it is for the rest of the population, that’s not okay,” says BRHS’ Julie Lawrence.
Health care has a big role to play in turning this distressing statistic around. Much of the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians is due to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.
Providing a better healthcare experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been the motivation behind a number of key initiatives at BRHS in recent years.
These include the creation of specific healthcare and referral pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the introduction of the Geewan Scripts program.
Now, that improvement continues.
This week BRHS is launching three videos for staff and the local indigenous community that explain what resources are available to support the healthcare journey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The videos also provide a brief history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in this area, with the goal helping staff understand the deeper significance of providing a culturally safe healthcare environment and improving health outcomes for local indigenous people.
In order to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with specific pathways that support their healthcare journey, it is mandatory to ask patients during admission and registration “Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin?”
Koori Hospital Liaison Officer Bonnie O’Shanassy says it is important for staff to know why they are asking.
“We want all staff to feel comfortable asking the question about origin, and asking it in the specific and appropriate way,” she says. “We also want staff to know the background behind why it is important to ask, so they can respond to patients that may not understand why it matters.”
All staff are invited to screenings of the new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Responsiveness Videos on Monday, Sept. 23 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Lake Victoria Meeting Room.
The videos are also available at BRHS’ Youtube channel, embedded below, and for BRHS staff on the Aboriginal Health Unit intranet page.
For more information contact Bonnie O’Shanassy at (03) 5150 3601 or firstname.lastname@example.org