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Friday, December 8, 2023

Providing culturally responsive palliative care to Indigenous Australians

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Australian entry-to-practice health professional students are being supported to develop the knowledge and skills needed to provide quality care across various settings for Australian Indigenous peoples with life-limiting illness, and their families and communities.

Today – National Close the Gap Day – the PCC4U (Palliative Care Curriculum for Undergraduates) project has launched the Caring for Australian Indigenous peoples affected by life-limiting illness toolkit.

The PCC4U is a QUT-led initiative funded by the federal health department to support development of graduate capabilities in palliative care.

National Indigenous project manager, Nicole Hewlett from the QUT School of Nursing has worked with PCC4U to ensure culturally safe resources are developed and delivered.

She said the new toolkit formed part of the PCC4U curriculum for educators, health and aged care providers, and would bring greater awareness to inequity.

“Given the history, trauma and current experience of racism in healthcare, it can be particularly difficult for Australian Indigenous peoples to talk about the kind of care and support they would like as they age or become seriously ill,” Hewlett said.

“As a result, most communities are not receiving the best quality of care and support while they live with chronic Illness and at the end of life.

“This can have a profound effect on both the sick person and their loved ones’ experience during this end-of-life journey.”

Hewlett – a Palawa woman from Lutruwita (Tasmania) – said the toolkit had not just been redeveloped, but decolonised.

“Resources are often written about us, without us which means our voice is lacking along with true knowledge and education,” Hewlett said.

“The toolkit has been decolonised and built again from the ground up on foundations of the sovereign spirit of our people.”

PCC4U project lead and executive dean of the QUT Faculty of Health, Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates, said the PCC4U toolkit would support the entry-to-practice students provide holistic, safe and culturally responsive care.

“The toolkit has been designed to educate students about the important role they play in breaking down the access barriers to mainstream healthcare, experienced by Australian Indigenous peoples,” Yates, who also leads the QUT Centre for Palliative Care and Cancer Outcomes within the QUT Centre for Health Transformation, said.

“Through education, health students are provided with opportunities to reflect on a living and flexible model of service delivery and health policy and consider how their practice may support this.

“The inclusion of video resources exploring real stories provides opportunities for students to fully engage and contextualise the learning.”

The Caring for Australian Indigenous peoples affected by life-limiting illness toolkit and all learning resources are free to use, and are accessible via the PCC4U website.

  • The PCC4U is part of the Palliative Care Education and Training Collaborative. The collaborative also includes national palliative care projects – the Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) and the Indigenous Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (IPEPA), which provide education and training to support and build the capacity of the health workforce to provide palliative care.
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