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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are a diverse group of peoples, made up of many different nations and language groups. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is a living culture, made up of both contemporary and traditional practices.

The following resources may be useful to those providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Practice Issues

Australian Government Department of Health Providing culturally appropriate palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Resource Kit. 2007. (freely accessible resource through Department of Health website)
Also known as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Palliative Care Resource Kit, this publication provides strategies and training material to support staff in mainstream health services to provide culturally appropriate palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Australian Goverrnment Deprtment of Health Care Leavers Resources - The Caring for Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Stolen Generations Information Package. Current (freely accessible website)
The Caring for Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants and Stolen Generations Information Package shows how early life experiences can affect older people receiving care and help care providers respond to their needs.
The Package resources include:

  • an information booklet covering issues and aged care requirements of Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants, and the Stolen Generations
  • a training facilitator guide including case studies on care issues of  Forgotten Australians, Former Child Migrants, and Stolen Generations. Carers are encouraged to use this guide to facilitate group discussions and information sessions to other carers.
  • a PowerPoint Presentation for information and training sessions
  • a video to be viewed on YouTube
     

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Cultural competency in the delivery of health services for Indigenous people. July 2015. 
This issues paper examines the available evidence on cultural competence in international and local literature. It defines cultural competency; reports on available evidence; identifies approaches and strategies that are effective in improving cultural competency among health services staff, examines the relationship between cultural competency and health outcomes, and documents an evidence-informed conceptual framework.
 

Brooke NJ. Needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients residing in Australian residential aged-care facilities. Aust J Rural Health. 2011 Aug;19(4):166-70.
This review was undertaken to identify evidence-based practice guidelines to support the care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients residing in residential aged-care facilities. A systematic literature review was undertaken. An electronic search of online databases and subsequent manual retrieval process was undertaken to identify relevant reports and studies that explored interventions for care of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person. Very limited published material was identified but included strategies related to care, communication, palliative care, activities and the environment.
 

Sinclair C, Williams G, Knight A, Auret K. A public health approach to promoting advance care planning to Aboriginal people in regional communities. Aust. J. Rural Health (2014) 22, 23–28.
The need to ensure culturally appropriate methods of engaging Aboriginal people in ACP discussions is highlighted. Approaches should include Aboriginal health workers and take a whole of community approach to awareness raising.
 

Queensland Health. Sad news, sorry business: Guidelines for caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through death and dying. 2011. (freely accessible 519kb pdf)
Provides educative insight into appropriate cultural knowledge and practices and identify tools that will assist health professional staff in providing  culturally and clinically responsive care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families.


Wynne-Jones M, Hillin A, Byers D, Stanley D, Edridge V, Brideson T. Aboriginal grief and loss: a review of the literature. 2016. Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin 16(3) July - September 2016 (freely accessible 484kb pdf)
This article is based on a literature review that was conducted in 2013 as part of  the NSW Aboriginal Grief and Loss Training Project funded by the NSW Ministry of Health and delivered by the NSW Institute of Psychiatry. The aim of the review was to examine the existing literature, training and resources on Australian Aboriginal grief and loss, identifying areas for further research. The documentary analysis included published and unpublished books, articles, brochures, fact sheets and training material relevant to Australian Aboriginal grief and loss.

 

Policy and management considerations

McGrath P The living model: an Australian model for Aboriginal palliative care service delivery with international implications. J Palliat Care. 2010 Spring;26(1):59-64.
Research in the area of palliative care service delivery to Aboriginal peoples is still in its infancy. Service providers and health policy makers around the world are calling for research-based insights to guide practice. To make a contribution to this important initiative, this article will provide an overview of an evidence-based model developed for rural and remote Aboriginal palliative care service delivery in Australia.
 

McGrath PD, Holewa H Seven principles for indigenous palliative care service delivery: Research findings from Australia. Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer. 2006;5(3):179-187. (freely accessible 513kb pdf)
In Australia, there are significant cultural differences in the way disease and death are dealt with and understood by the dominant Anglo-Australian society and by Aboriginal peoples. The implications of such cultural differences are particularly poignant during the dying trajectory. The present article provides findings from a National Health and Medical Research Council two-year study on Indigenous palliative care conducted in the Northern Territory that documents a model for end-of-life care for Aboriginal peoples. The purpose of this article is to present the findings informing the seven principles.
 

O'Brien AP, Bloomer MJ, McGrath P, Clark K, Martin T, Lock M, Pidcock T, van der Riet P, O'Connor M Considering Aboriginal palliative care models: the challenges for mainstream services. Rural Remote Health. 2013 Apr-Jun;13(2):2339.
This review discusses palliative care and end-of-life models of care for Aboriginal people in the Australian state New South Wales, and considers Aboriginal palliative care needs by reflecting on recent literature and lessons derived from Aboriginal consultation.
 

Palliative Care Australia Improving access to quality care at the end-of-life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Australians. 2011. (freely accessible 85kb pdf)
Quality care at the end-of-life is realised then it is culturally appropriate to the particular needs of individuals and groups that includes families, kinships, and tribes. The position statement from Palliative Care Australia outlines the policies around palliative care practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including chronic disease profile, cultural differences, geographical challenges, communication strategies, education and training for health professionals.
 

Sinclair C, Williams G, Knight A, Auret K  A public health approach to promoting advance care planning to Aboriginal people in regional communities. Aust J Rural Health. 2014 Feb;22(1):23-8.
The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of Noongar community members towards advance care planning (ACP), while developing culturally appropriate information resources for use in community and hospital settings. Results suggest culturally appropriate methods of engaging Aboriginal people in ACP discussions should include Aboriginal health workers and take a whole of community approach to awareness raising.

 

Associated materials

Australian Indigenous HealthInfonet Health practice resources. Current (freely accessible website)
These pages provide reference material, clinical guidelines and patient information about palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Site provides a searchable database of relevant information and key resources.
 

CareSearch Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Care. Current (freely accessible website)
Brings together a range of resources and information to help the health care workforce and carers in providing palliative care with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Culturally safe and responsive care is an essential part of good care.
 

The Lowitja Institute Llt.search - Search tool providing easy access to Aboriginal and Torres Islander health literature. Current (freely accessible website)
This search tool provides filtered access to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health literature held within the PubMed database and searches can be completed using pre-defined search topics or refining searches by entering keywords, filtering options or publishing dates.

This content was developed for the Decision Assist program, and is managed by CareSearch.


Page updated 03 October 2017