This video focuses on the Aboriginal Client Journey in the Hume region. Four Aboriginal Health Transition Officers are employed in hospital emergency departments to engage with Aboriginal clients and provide follow-up support with referrals or access to other services. This initiative raises health literacy in the community and promotes Aboriginal identification within hospital and mainstream health care settings.

My name is Judy Cue-Ahmat, I’m a Gunditjmara woman. I'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land that we’re standing on which is Duduroa people and pay my respects to past and present elders. My role is the aboriginal health partnership manager for the Hume region. We employed four aboriginal health transitional officers in four locations throughout the region and they are in the emergency departments. The community have better access to mainstream health services and also follow-up care from the emergency department to primary healthcare services within the Hume region.

Prior to the project starting we did provide some cultural awareness training to management staff, the CEO, the executive and to some nursing staff. The benefits have been that we've made staff more aware of that they need to ask the question, but also we've done a bit of education with community as well to say why we're asking it and what would bethe outcome for them. My name’s Charmaine Bell. I’m the aboriginal health transition officer. My role is to work in the client journey project, so that means I'm following up all indigenous patients that have left emergency to home. The project involves myself contacting aboriginal clients after leaving emergency to find out how they’re doing.

Most of the clients that I contact and follow up are the clients who have chronic conditions. I feel the benefits that I’ve brought to the community would be the fact
that I’m a voice for them in ED. A lot of our people don't feel comfortable asking questions. Them knowing that I'm going to follow them up has given them a voice.
The evaluations to us was really important. The benefit of doing an evaluation is about continuous quality improvement. We did an approach that we do continuously throughout the project and it was “plan, do, study, act”, and what we found was that we were learning all the time. So we were learning from the experiences of when we're putting things in place – whether that was working or whether it wasn’t – and we also receive community feedback when we're actually doing some aspects of the project as well.

So to dispel the myth that patients will be treated differently, it's about making sure everyone gets the same service and that they have access to follow-up care.

The benefits it’s brought to the community would be the fact that I've been able to link many aboriginal patients, we’re getting the data that we need to get to try to work out, well, you know, this is a big need in our community. We’re getting lots and lots of presentations every month. I’m finding about 80 to 100 patients in both ED on average that are coming in per month and making sure that we got that data with the project coming into its evaluation stages actually saying, well, could this be a full-time position?

What we have learnt is that you can't do one without the other, but we actually did community awareness. I followed up a fellow that had come through ED. He had had a bit of a situation at home where he actually left home. He was a young fellow and he wasn’t with any family, so he was quite isolated. He didn’t have any transport and he needed to get back to primary care. I've linked him into the AWAHS men's shed and also had a men’s health check done up as well, so yeah, I feel like I’ve made a difference. The benefit of the aboriginal health transition officer role in our hospital and in our community is the fact that our people are actually asking to see us. They know what to expect now, which is fantastic.