Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Palliative Care Resource Kit

Resource Kit Overview

Providing palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is an important consideration in the development of a National Palliative Care Program. The National Indigenous Palliative Care Needs Study identified a range of issues to be addressed in ensuring that palliative care was accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and that services could respond to their complex and specific needs.

The focus of the Indigenous Palliative Care Project was on developing resources and guidelines which focused on the provision of care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A Resource Kit was developed as well as some specific state resources.

In 2001 a consortium of Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation, Wodonga Institute of TAFE and Mercy Health Service Albury was commissioned by the Department of Health and Ageing to develop a set of national guidelines and accompanying training resources to support palliative care services provide more culturally appropriate palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander palliative care patients, their families and communities contributed generously during the development of these resources by sharing their experiences and stories. Invaluable information was received from individuals and palliative care practitioners. Data was provided by Kate Sullivan and Associates through the National Indigenous Palliative Care Needs Study (751kb pdf) Scoping Project.

The Providing Culturally Appropriate Palliative Care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Resource Kit was completed in December 2003. The resources provide an overview together with strategies to address the unique issues and factors influencing the provision of culturally appropriate palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Targeted to mainstream health services, the resources included a training program for mainstream health workers.
 

Resource Kit Elements

  • The Practice Principles (1.44MB pdf) 
    • The Practice Principles were developed to provide a framework for palliative care service providers to examine their own policies and practices in relation to the requirements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They are based on a holistic approach to palliative care responding to the spiritual, emotional, social, psychological, physical and economic needs of the patient. The importance of family and community, and their role in decision making and care support, is acknowledged and incorporated. The Practice Principles aim to support palliative care service providers to be inclusive in developing locally appropriate policies and practices to meet the needs of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, families and communities.
  • The Resource (1.69MB pdf) 
    • The Resource Kit was developed to support the implementation of the Practice Principles. It aims to support palliative care providers becoming aware of issues in providing palliative care and provide some strategies for use when addressing these issues. A central theme of the Resource Kit is that of consultation – seeking information from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patient and/or their family and community.
  • The Discussion Paper (863kb pdf) 
    • The aim of the Discussion Paper was to inform and add value to both the Practice Principles and the education and training Resource Kit. It seeks to provide a general understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' unique experiences and beliefs, which are discussed in relation to the intercultural communication challenges experienced by health service providers. The focus is on the broad principles that underpin the uniqueness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' perspective, rather than specific myths and rituals which cannot be generalised across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultures. The final section of the discussion paper includes a summary of the basic principles of intercultural communication, issues around implementing these in Australia, and a significant section on recommendations for practice.
  • A Course Outline (455kb pdf) 
    • This outlines the professional development and training course that was designed for all members of the health care workforce providing palliative care services, to enhance competency in providing culturally appropriate palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.  

State-Based Resources

To complement the resources from the National Indigenous Palliative Care Project, several state-based resources were produced. The following is a list of resources developed by some of the states and territories.



Original page authors: Jenny Butler (Manager, Training Design, Wodonga Institute of TAFE) and Julie Mueller (Project Officer, Palliative Care Section, Department of Health and Ageing)
Last updated 15 March 2017