Delivering a Healthy WA
WA Health Conference and Awards
WA Health Conference and Awards 2013

Category 7 – Improving Aboriginal Health

Sponsor: Aboriginal Health

Finalist: Armadale Health Service

Project: Boodjari Yorgas Family Care Program

Quality, culturally competent pregnancy care that is readily accessible to families is the main focus of Boodjari Yorgas and the Armadale Health Services' Maternity Unit.

The Boodjari Yorgas (Noongar for ‘pregnant woman’) Family Care Program is culturally specific care for pregnant Aboriginal women and their families. It was previously offered for a half day a week but has now been expanded to five days a week. As a result, maternity services have become more accessible to the Aboriginal community and attendance numbers have gone from about 40 in 2008 to over 160 in 2012.

A home visiting service assists in relationship-building in a safe environment before the women even come into the hospital. Through a personalised education program, sensitive information is shared in a secure environment.

The Boodjari Yorgas discharge program ensures that all women and their newborns are followed up after leaving hospital and are referred to continuing care with local services.

The program has improved outcomes for Aboriginal women in relation to a number of key performance indicators, including stage of gestation at first antenatal contact, number of antenatal visits, birth weight, stage of gestation at birth and mode of delivery.

Boodjari Yorgas Family Care Program provides holistic pregnancy care by nurturing the traditional perspective of childbirth being women's business while at the same time validating the significance of fathers and families.

Finalist: Drug and Alcohol Office

Project: Strong Spirit Strong Future: Promoting Healthy Women and Pregnancies

The Strong Spirit Strong Future - Promoting Healthy Women and Pregnancies project aims to develop culturally secure resources, statewide workforce development initiatives and community awareness campaigns about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Cultural security underpins this project to ensure the engagement of Aboriginal people and to avoid shame or blame.

A media campaign was developed in consultation with Aboriginal communities and organisations with a focus on healthy women and pregnancies, and the role of men and community in supporting women not to drink alcohol.

The campaign promotes messages that strengthen Aboriginal systems of care, control and responsibility, and portray happy and healthy Aboriginal families and communities.

Images were commissioned by the project to depict strong, happy, healthy Aboriginal babies, women, families and communities. The project is leading the way in the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Aboriginal communities by using this comprehensive and holistic approach.

The project has undertaken a pre and post-test evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the training and resources. The preliminary results from the pre-test evaluation and the three-month, post-test follow-up showed that over 97 per cent “understood the effects of alcohol use in pregnancy” at a high or very high rating compared to over 51 per cent before the training.

Finalist: Child and Adolescent Health Service

Project: Aboriginal Ambulatory Care Coordination

Ambulatory care is 'out of hospital' care that includes outpatient appointments, specialist outreach services, community nursing, telehealth, hospital in the home, and short stay facilities.

The Aboriginal Ambulatory Care Coordination project aims to improve ambulatory paediatric services for WA Aboriginal children, especially the most disadvantaged, hard-to-reach children. As a result of feedback from WA primary health providers, the Aboriginal Ambulatory Care Coordination project has worked to improve ambulatory care at Princess Margaret Hospital. Areas addressed have included: the need to provide hospital discharge summaries more promptly, coordinate outpatient appointments so that families do not have to travel to PMH as often, and improve discharge information so children receive the appointments, medication and treatment they require.

A communication strategy was developed to improve liaison and develop partnerships with non-government providers, especially the Aboriginal Medical Services in the metropolitan, the Pilbara and the Kimberley regions.

Preliminary quantitative analysis has shown reduced non-attended appointments, reduced hospital admissions and length of stay, reduced Patient Assisted Transport Scheme use, with assisted travel trips reduced with a saving of more than $97,000, and improved satisfaction of Aboriginal families and local and regional service providers.