Section B
APPROPRIATELY IDENTIFYING ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SERVICE USERS

OVERVIEW

Accurate data on health care access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is critical to ensuring that we can evaluate the extent to which health needs are being met or unmet. The following resources support employees working in the health and/or community services to ask the question of service users “Are you (or is the person) of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin” when first registering for services or during client review processes. The resources listed below provide information to assist staff to better engage with members of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community and to understand the importance of asking this question of every service user regardless of appearance.

Key points

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) best practice guidelines recommend Asking the Question using the following wording “Are you (or is the person) of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin”. However, some Aboriginal community organisations recommend using the wording “Do you (or does the person) identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person”. The use of wording is not mandated by DHHS, however, organisations should develop a clear preference for wording and provide directions to staff as appropriate.
  • Incorporating training on Asking the Question into staff induction processes and ongoing professional development activities for all health service employees will ensure consistency of organisational practice.
  • Asking the Question during casework reviews provides the opportunity for a service user to disclose at a later date once they have developed a trusting relationship with the worker/service.
  • Comprehensive staff training on Asking the Question will include information on why Asking the Question is important; why staff must Ask the Question of every service user regardless of appearance; the rights of service users not to disclose; explanations of potential concerns that community members may have about disclosing; and information on how to respond to concerns raised by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal service users.
  • As staff training on Asking the Question includes components of cultural awareness – best practice is that this training is delivered by or with an Aboriginal consultant.
  • A list of cultural awareness training providers is provided in the DHHS Cultural Resource Guide 2014 . For further information regarding identifying Aboriginal consultants for specific training purposes contact a local Aboriginal organisation.

RESOURCES TO SUPPORT APPROPRIATE IDENTIFICATION OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SERVICE USERS

Title Asking the Question Training Package

The Asking the Question Training Package was developed to assist service providers to  conduct internal staff training and includes:

  • Asking the Question Training Video;
  • Asking the Question Training Participant Resource;
  • Asking the Question Trainer’s Guide and PowerPoint presentation;
  • Training Participant Satisfaction Survey.
Author Inner North West Primary Care Partnership 2014
Type Training package includes publication and PowerPoint and video
Title Recording Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status

VACCHO, in collaboration with Mungabareena Aboriginal Cooperative and Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative have developed a series of three videos about quality improvement for recording of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status – available on YouTube.

Author VACCHO in collaboration with Mungabareena Aboriginal Cooperative and Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative 2012
Type Video
Title National Best Practice Guidelines for Collecting Indigenous Status in Health Data Sets

The Best Practice Guidelines document the recommended national approach for collecting and recording accurate information on the Indigenous status of clients.

Author Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2010
Type Publication
Title “Have you Asked the Question” Promotional Items

Sample promotional items your organisation can develop to prompt front desk and intake staff to remember to Ask the Question of all new service users and an Asking The Question Resource Kit prepared by the North East Primary Care Partnership.

To access these resources please contact the NEPCP Koolin Balit Project Coordinator on (03) 9450 2614.

 

Author North East Primary Care Partnership and Victorian Aboriginal Health Services (VAHS) 2013
Type Promotional Items – A5 booklet, mouse mats and stickers
Title Improving the Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Mainstream General Practice

Better identification of Indigenous patients in general practices would improve their access to Medicare benefits such as health checks that could help ‘Close the Gap’, yet many GPs don’t consider ethnicity to be relevant to quality of care. This study reviewed the effectiveness of strategies that aim to improve the identification of Indigenous people.

Author The Australian National University and the Lowitja Institute 2010
Type Publication