NACCHO Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health News: Culturally responsive palliative care

Culturally responsive palliative care

The Palliative care curriculum for undergraduates (PCC4U) project has launched the Caring for Australian Indigenous peoples affected by life-limiting illness toolkit. The PCC4U is a QUT-led initiative funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to support development of graduate capabilities in palliative care.

National Indigenous Project Manager, Nicole Hewlett, a Palawa woman from Lutruwita (Tasmania), from the QUT School of Nursing worked with PCC4U to ensure culturally safe resources are developed and delivered. She said the new toolkit formed part of the PCC4U curriculum for educators, health and aged care providers, and would bring greater awareness to inequity. “Given the history, trauma and current experience of racism in healthcare, it can be particularly difficult for Australian Indigenous peoples to talk about the kind of care and support they would like as they age or become seriously ill,” Ms Hewlett said.

“As a result, most communities are not receiving the best quality of care and support while they live with chronic Illness and at the end of life. This can have a profound effect on both the sick person and their loved ones’ experience during this end-of-life journey.” Ms Hewlett said the toolkit had not just been redeveloped, but decolonised.

You can access further information about the Caring for Australian Indigenous peoples affected by life-limiting illness toolkit on the QUT website here.

The Glen for Women opens doors

The songs of bellbirds fill Coral Hennessy with peace. They echo around a picturesque rural landscape at Wyong Creek, on the NSW Central Coast. “Just what people need for healing,” Malyangapa woman Ms Hennessy said. Now, the 4.45 hectare property is home to the state’s first Aboriginal community controlled women’s drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation centre. The Glen for Women is a decades-old dream that will open intake applications this week.

The 20-bed facility will house 80 to 100 clients each year, with a focus on local Aboriginal women. During their 12 week stay, women will drive their activities, including a yarning circle, sports and art. Ms Hennessy said her daughter, who struggled with alcohol addiction, died in late 2020. “I always found it hard to find a place for her to go to,” she said. “There never seemed to be the right place … so that was one of my reasons for getting a rehab to be run along the lines of The Glen centre.”

Ms Hennessy is the chair of The Glen for Men, as well as this new women’s offshoot. Her passion to improve lives through drug and alcohol rehabilitation is a legacy of her late brother Cyril, who founded the nearby men’s centre in 1994. The name was in honour of his son, Glen, who died after a battle with addiction.

Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA) CEO Robert Stirling said the centre will respond to a gap in treatment. “NADA is excited that The Glen for Women is about to become a reality – a culturally secure place for Aboriginal women to address alcohol and drug related harms,” he said. The Glen for Women chief operating officer Kylie Cassidy said it had already been inundated with calls from women.

To read the ABC News article The Glen for Women, Aboriginal community controlled drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, opens doors in full click here.

The Glen for Women is a 20-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre

The Glen for Women is a 20-bed drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre set on more than four hectares. Photo: Sofie Wainwright, ABC Central Coast. Image source: ABC News website.

80% of mob over 16 have had 2 doses

It’s FANTASTIC to see that 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 16 have had 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

NACCHO is extending a huge thank you to all ACCHOs for their tireless efforts so far in the vaccination roll-out, and to all the deadly mob who have stepped up to protect themselves, their families and community.

Now, let’s aim for 100%.

To book your vaccination, contact your local Aboriginal health service or visit the Australian Government Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder website here.

CTG dashboard update

The Australian Government Productivity Commission Closing the Gap Information Repository is being developed (in stages) to help support reporting . The latest update to the Dashboard (31 March 2022) includes disaggregations of data for a subset of targets under the socioeconomic outcome areas (with a new year of data for five socioeconomic outcome areas) and refinements to the method for assessing progress against the targets.

A further update to the Dashboard will be available in late June 2022. It will include reporting on a further 20 indicators across the Priority Reform areas and socioeconomic outcome areas. The release of the second Annual Data Compilation Report is anticipated by end July 2022.

You can view the fact sheet about the dashboard here.

Image source:

New BCNA First Peoples resources

BCNA is thrilled to advise that this month they have launched new content to support First Peoples women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. The development of the content, created with support from Cancer Australia, has enabled BCNA to expand their resources for First Peoples women to help them feel empowered to make decisions about their treatment and care and to help them through their breast cancer journey. The information was developed with significant input and contribution through BCNA’s First Peoples Advisory Group and those First Peoples who are part of the BCNA network.

In addition to written information, the information for First Peoples now includes a series of eight new videos in which First Peoples women from around Australia share their experiences with breast cancer. Video topics include: Advice for First Peoples and their communities; Family and support; Connection to culture; and Treatment.

In the coming weeks, a webcast on the Optimal Care Pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will be recorded and made available. The videos and webcast will be available to watch on My Journey via this link and on the BCNA website. You can read more about resources available for First Peoples communities here.

National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap released

The Australian Government has today launched the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap (Roadmap) and has committed funding of $20.3 million to support improved outcomes and survival for Australians affected by pancreatic cancer. The Roadmap, developed by Cancer Australia and overseen by a multidisciplinary national expert Steering Group, is for the Australian community. Its implementation will be a collective responsibility involving people affected by pancreatic cancer, health professionals, professional colleges, researchers, pancreatic cancer organisations, peak bodies, non-government and government organisations.

Cancer Australia has created the Roadmap as an interactive, easy to use web-based tool where users can easily identify information in their areas of interest across the continuum of pancreatic research, treatment and care.

To access the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap, visit the Australian Government Cancer Australia website here.

Hepatitis elimination needs longer-term funding

Hepatitis Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment of short-term (12 months) funding under the National Preventive Health Strategy 2021–2030 to support key organisations to continue existing programs in the national response to hepatitis B, C, HIV and STIs. “The Government has allocated $8.6 million in 2022–23 allowing key organisations to continue important work towards elimination by 2030,” said Carrie Fowlie, CEO of Hepatitis Australia, the national peak body representing the interests of 350,000 people living with viral hepatitis and the State and Territory Hepatitis Organisations.

It should be noted that the $8.6 million includes a $5 million commitment to implement key activities under the Fifth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2018–2022, to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with, or at risk of blood borne viruses and/or sexually transmissible infections.

To view the Healthcare Channel article in full click here.

Blood testing to detect HIV. Photo: Mak Remissa, EPA. Image source: SBS NITV website.

Health disparity for LGBTQIA+ people

Yesterday on International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDoV), the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) is celebrated the achievements, presence and community of transgender (trans) and gender-diverse people and highlighted the immediate need to address the health gaps they experience. “Today, I would like to acknowledge the persistent contribution trans and gender-diverse people make to our society and especially those who are my colleagues in the nursing profession,” ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.

“It is unconscionable that this group continues to experience discrimination in accessing many of our areas of society such as health, education and sports. The flow on effect means trans and gender diverse people are more likely to experience much higher rates of violence, mental health problems and homelessness – just to name a few examples. These statistics are even more troubling for those in already marginalised groups, such as people of colour, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and young Australians. Our society must not tolerate discrimination based on gender or any other form.” Adjunct Professor Ward also highlighted how the nursing profession has a leading role to play in tackling the systemic issues trans and gender-diverse people experience.

You can view the Australian College of Nursing Health disparities of transgender and gender diverse people require urgent attention media release in full here.

Image source: MJA InSight.

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) have also issued a media release saying they are extremely disappointed by the lack of measures in the Federal Budget to improve the access to healthcare for LGBTQIA+ Australians. “Transgender and gender diverse Australians are in urgent need of support. The failure of the Government to direct funding to increase access to gender-affirming services will cause significant harm to patients who are unable to afford access,” Jasmine Davis, AMSA President said.

AMSA is also disappointed to see a lack of specific funding for LGBTQIA+ mental health. “Queer Australians already experience higher rates of mental-ill health and suicide. Nearly a third of LGBTI Australians aged 18 and over have attempted suicide, a number which is eight times higher than the general population,” Flynn Halliwell, Chair of AMSA Queer, said. “The federal government has itself continued to perpetuate direct harm to the mental health of these communities through attempts to introduce harmful legislation, as well as political weaponizing of trans and gender diverse people in public discourse. If the Government is serious about improving mental health, and reducing suicide rates in Australia, there should be specific funding for LGBTQIA+ mental health services,” Mr Halliwell said.

You can view the AMSA’s media release in full here.

Image source: The Conversation.

New process for job advertising

NACCHO have introduced a new system for the advertising of job adverts via the NACCHO website and you can find the sector job listings here.

Click here to go to the NACCHO website where you can complete a form with job vacancy details – it will then be approved for posting and go live on the NACCHO website.

World Health Day

The Australian Global Health Alliance, in partnership with the Climate and Health Alliance, Australian WHO Collaborating Centre Network, Melbourne Climate Futures, and Monash Sustainable Development Institute are delighted to present an expert panel on World Health Day 2022 to celebrate and reflect on our past, present and future connections to this year’s theme: Our Planet, Our Health.

Many groups and individuals claim knowledge in the field of planetary health and global health, and it can sometimes be a cacophony of competing rather than joined interest to act. Our expert panel will explore lived experiences facing floods and heatwaves in Australia and the region, the application and respect for all global and First Nation’s knowledge, and the processes and platforms we use to communicate for action – and for whom.

Our discussion will be co-chaired by Australian Global Health Alliance Executive Director, Dr Selina Lo and Georgia Langmaid, a young generation lead in planetary health from 12:00–1:30PM (AEST) Thursday 7 April, 2022. You can register for the event here.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month with World Parkinson’s Day recognised on 11 April each year. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a movement and mood disorder typically presenting with symptoms such as slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, instability, tremor, depression and anxiety and diagnosis can occur at any age. With one person every hour of every day diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it is important to continue education, research and support for consumers, families and support people who are living with PD.

For more information about PD and Parkinson’s Awareness Month click here.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly after Alzheimer’s disease. It is expected that PD cumulative incidence will increase in the future, as there are far more people surviving into late age than there ever used to be. Socioeconomic, cultural and genetic factors may influence the way in which anti-parkinsonian medications are prescribed, and how patients respond to them. There is growing recognition that more detailed Australian-specific data are required and that special consideration should be given to obtaining estimates for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations of Australia.

You can access the BMJ Neurology Open article Variations in the patterns of prevalence and therapy in Australasian Parkinson’s disease patients of different ethnicities containing the above information here.

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