Working together with Moort (families) and Kulungas (children)
Day one – Tuesday 19 November 2013
11.55am – 12.55pm Concurrent session 2
The Aboriginal Health Team (AHT) – made up of Community Nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers – was formed in July 2008 to improve access to culturally appropriate and sensitive child health services for Aboriginal families in Perth. The AHT delivers the Enhanced Aboriginal Child Health Schedule (EACHS) for children aged 0-5 years. EACHS was developed in conjunction with clinicians across WA.
A medical officer was appointed in January 2009 in partnership with PMH in response to the primary health needs for Aboriginal families. The medical officer has experience in Aboriginal health and provides primary health services to the children and families accessing the AHT. The medical officer attends PMH weekly and has forged strong links leading to improved communication and care coordination between primary and tertiary health services.
A Speech Pathologist (SP) and Occupational Therapist (OT) were joint Child Development Service (CDS) and AHT appointments in January 2011. These appointments have improved communication between CDS and AHT. The SP and OT also provide education to clinicians and community groups around developmental issues for Aboriginal children.
The formation of the AHT and the above–mentioned appointments led to the provision of multidisciplinary clinics across the metro area bringing together primary and allied health clinicians with expertise in maternal and child health and child development.
The clinics provide management of health issues for the child and parent/carer as well as child development assessments. This increases access to health services for the clients and enhances parental education, early identification and referral for children with developmental delays.
We have demonstrated an increase in referrals, for Aboriginal children and families, to primary and allied health services and are currently further evaluating our service.
We believe this model could be adapted and applied in regional areas and to other health issues.