Culturally-appropriate palliative care kits will be rolled out across Australia to help Indigenous families care for their dying loved ones on Country.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from remote, rural and urban areas will be more able to die at home while maintaining a connection to their community.
“First Nations people’s culture involves complex social structures with strong links to their homeland,” Professor Liz Reymond, director of Caring@home, said on Thursday.
“Most Indigenous Australians tell us they would prefer to finish up on Country in their local culture with those they love.
“This kit will help them realise this outcome with more access to symptom control.”
Reymond said it would also allow dying people to be with their mourning families during end-of-life care, instead of in a hospital, often hundreds of kilometres away.
The Palliative Care Clinic Box contains information packs for medical professionals, and a training video to teach carers how to safely give pain relief medicines.
It will be launched on Friday in Darwin where about 500 health professionals and experts have gathered for the 2022 Compass Conference.
The event returns after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with delegates travelling from across the territory, including Tennant Creek, Nhulunbuy and Maningrida, to learn about the latest developments in healthcare.
NT healthcare workers face many challenges, including professional isolation caused by living and working remotely, and having to navigate cultural sensitivities and considerations.
Across the territory, Indigenous residents, who make up about 30 per cent of the NT’s 246,500-strong population, suffer from much higher rates of chronic diseases, including diabetes, kidney disease and drug and alcohol abuse, than non-Indigenous people.
Unique challenges due to the territory’s harsh geography and climate, and the spread of remote communities, impact on health care.
Aboriginal people made up almost two-thirds of deaths from chronic diseases between 2011 to 2015, according to the NT government.
Indigenous health issues and strategies for care, including the rollout of digital health technology to remote areas, will be a strong focus during the two-day gathering.
Other topics to be discussed include how to help people, including those with chronic illness and disabilities, live better and stay healthier into old age.
There will also be discussion about mental health, with a focus on the welfare of the health workforce to help prevent burnout and fatigue.
Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory will also discuss the Damulgurra program, which teaches participants how to create a safe healing environment for Aboriginal patients suffering from trauma.
For more information on the 2022 Compass Conference, click here.