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April 2013

Group of people holding videos jpeg
Cast and crew of the Melbourne Health educational video Valetta Fraser, Massimiliano Aiello, Cecilie Atkinson, Georgina Hanna, Kimba Thompson and Lisa Maza.

Videos help make a difference on Aboriginal health

Melbourne Health, with Aboriginal production company Sista Girl Productions, has produced two educational videos to help close the healthcare gap.

The videos, one for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and one for staff, emphasise the need to provide patient-centred care.

They both aim to break down barriers that have traditionally existed between the community and the hospital and teach staff how they can make a difference in improving the health of Aboriginal people.

Social worker and cultural diversity co-ordinator at The Royal Melbourne Georgina Hanna said hospitals had not always been particularly welcoming places for Aboriginal people.

‘But not all health issues can be dealt with in a community setting,’ said Ms Hanna, who produced the videos.

‘Sometimes a hospital visit is needed.’

The videos encourage Aboriginal patients to tell staff about their cultural background to ensure they receive culturally-safe care and access to relevant support services.

The videos also aim to reassure them staff want to do the right thing by their patients and are trying to give the best care possible.

‘It was important staff take into account peoples’ traditions, background, experiences and culture.

‘The videos are another step in the service’s journey to improve patient care,’ Ms Hanna said.

‘When any patient enters the hospital system, it’s our responsibility to ask them many questions, including ‘are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin’.

‘We need to ask this without presumption and we need to ask this of everybody.

‘But we don’t do this consistently and so don’t always provide the right kind of care to our Aboriginal patients.’

Ms Hanna said she hoped the videos would empower the Aboriginal community to work with the hospital to provide the right care at the right time.

The videos were launched as part of National Close the Gap Day and are being disseminated throughout Melbourne Health and the local Aboriginal community.