With support from the Department of Health, NACCHO and RACGP established a working group in 2019 to review and update Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander annual health check templates.
Throughout 2020 we will be testing these templates for operability in a range of services.
We are keen to hear your feedback and will be conducting a survey later in the year.
A key recommendation was to update elements to better reflect age-appropriate health needs. This resulted in five new templates that span the life course:
- Infants and preschool (birth-5 years) PDF RTF
- Primary school age (5-12 years) PDF RTF
- Adolescents and young people (12-24 years) PDF RTF
- Adults (25-49 years) PDF RTF
- Older people (50+ years) PDF RTF
These are example health check templates that include recommended core elements.
The criteria for inclusion can be accessed in our template development information pack.
Adaptation of these templates to local needs and priorities is encouraged, with reference to current Australian preventive health guidelines that are culturally and clinically suitable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander needs.
These templates are not intended to promote a tick box approach to healthcare, but rather to prompt clinicians to consider patient priorities, opportunities for preventive healthcare and common health needs.
As the Partnership Project continues, we are exploring opportunities for integration of health check activities into clinical software.
We are also interested to hear about your experiences of providing health checks via telehealth.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to understand more or contribute your ideas and experiences.
Understand the purpose of the health check is to:
- support initial and ongoing engagement in comprehensive primary healthcare in a culturally safe way
- provide evidence-based health information, risk assessment and other services for primary and secondary disease prevention
- identify health needs, including patient health goals and priorities
- support participation in population health programs (eg immunisation, cancer screening), chronic disease management and other primary care services (eg oral health )
Know that a high-quality health check is:
- a positive experience for the patient that is respectful and culturally safe
- provided with a patient, not to a patient
- useful to the patient and includes patient priorities and goals in health assessment and planning
- supports patient agency
- provided by the usual healthcare provider in the context of established relationship and trust
- provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clinicians
- evidence-based as per current Australian preventive health guidelines that are generally accepted in primary care practice (eg National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation [NACCHO]–Royal Australian College of General Practitioners [RACGP] National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Central Australian Rural Practitioner’s Association [CARPA] Standard Treatment Manual, etc)
- provided with enough time (usually 30–60 minutes, with a minimum of 15 minutes with the GP) and often completed over several consultations
- followed up with care of identified health needs (ie continuity of care).
Make sure your practice is providing health checks that are acceptable and valuable to patients by:
- identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in a welcoming, hospitable manner
- explaining the purpose and process of the health check and obtaining consent
- enquiring about patient priorities and goals
- adapting the health check content to what is relevant and appropriate to the patient
- asking questions in ways that acknowledge strengths, that are sensitive to individual circumstances and that avoid cultural stereotyping
- completing the health check and identifying health needs
- making a plan for follow-up of identified health needs in partnership with the patient
- making follow-up appointments at the time of the health check, where possible
- considering checking in with the patient about their experience of the health check, in order to support patient engagement and quality
Potential pitfalls of health checks:
- A poor health check can lead to non- or dis-engagement in healthcare and has the potential to do harm – establish engagement and trust
- Health checks can have highly variable content and quality
- use endorsed high-quality templates
- Increasing the number of health checks without a focus on quality may undermine benefit for patients – avoid quantity over quality
- Health checks are not proxy for all preventive healthcare – they are one activity in the range of health promotion and disease-prevention activities in primary care
- No follow-up will have no or minimal impact on improving health outcomes – follow up identified health needs
- Cultural stereotyping – acknowledge the health impacts of racism and build a culturally safe practice