Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s journeys

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WARNING: Some of the resources listed contain stories or paintings or other contributions from people who are deceased.

Stories about the journeys of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Wominjeka: Welcome to our journey

Published by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Wominjeka: Welcome to our journey is a collection of real life stories from Victorian Aboriginal community members about their own journey or the journey of a friend or family member at the end of life. The booklet can be accessed via Amazon’s Cloudfront service.

Web: https://dr892t1ezw8d7.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Welcome-to-our-journey-VACCHO.pdf

Karen’s story (podcast – audio recording)

In this podcast Karen Bryant, a Gunditjmara woman discusses her time as a carer for family members including her mother and aunties.

The podcast can be accessed via the Palliative Care Victoria website:

Web: http://www.pallcarevic.asn.au/families-patients/aboriginal-australians/

In our care into your hands: Aboriginal stories about approaching the end of life

This booklet of stories was developed by a NSW-based palliative care and Aboriginal health building relationships committee, with support from various Aboriginal community organisations.

The booklet is available from the website of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District of the New South Wales Government Department of Health (NSW Health).

Web: https://www.islhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Palliative_Care/Documents/Aboriginal_booklet_V7_Lowres.pdf

Pop Arthur

This short illustrated book (sometimes referred to as a comic book) tells the story of Pop Arthur, a man living in a remote community with his family. It follows the journey of Pop Arthur through palliative care and to the end of his life and includes family members’ reflections on Pop Arthur’s life and his decision to stop active treatment and die at home with his family.

The book can be found on the digital publishing platform Issuu. It is used as part of the training in Palliative Approach to Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Health Workers provided by the Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA).

Web: https://issuu.com/amamood/docs/2012-6-7_poparthur_web

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) Palliative Care Project

VACCHO’s Aboriginal Palliative Care Project 

VACCHO’s Victorian Palliative Care Project aims for Aboriginal people to have access to palliative care services and for palliative care services to provide culturally safe services to Aboriginal people. It also aims to develop and increase the awareness and access to palliative care services and to develop a long and lasting relationship between palliative care providers and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHO’s) across the state of Victoria.

Web: http://www.vaccho.org.au/wd/vapcp/ and https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/hospitals-and-health-services/patient-care/end-of-life-care/palliative-care/palliative-care-aboriginal-care-program

VACCHO’s Cultural Safety Training Program, including tailored palliative care workshops

VACCHO’s cultural safety training program is available to all health and community service organisations in a variety of standard and tailored formats.

During 2017-18, VACCHO and the three metropolitan Melbourne based palliative care consortia, will be working together to provided cultural safety training tailored for palliative care services staff.

For further information about VACCHO’s cultural safety and palliative care workshops, contact VACCHO’s Aboriginal Palliative Care Project Officer Peter Ah Sam on 9411 9411 or Michael Gourlay, Manager of the North and West Metropolitan Region Palliative Care Consortium on 9486 266 or 0404 255 317.

Palliative care: It’s the beginning of your health care Dreaming

This VACCHO leaflet provides information on various topics, including: What is palliative care?; Where can I access palliative care?; and How does palliative care work?

Web: http://www.vaccho.org.au/assets/01-RESOURCES/TOPIC-AREA/PALLIATIVE-CARE/VACCHO-PALCARE-2012-WEB1.pdf

Understanding the palliative care journey: A guide for individuals, carer communities and family

This booklet from VACCHO covers topics including: What can palliative care help me with? Who is in the palliative care team? Getting the best care; Spiritual and emotional wellbeing; Coping with your diagnosis; Living with your illness; Grief/Sorry business; and Victorian palliative care services.

The booklet can be accessed free of charge through Amazon’s Cloudfront service.

Web: http://dr892t1ezw8d7.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Understanding-the-Palliative-Care-Journey1.pdf

Wominjeka: Welcome to our journey

Wominjeka: Welcome to our journey is a collection of real life stories from Victorian Aboriginal community members about their own journey or the journey of a friend or family member at the end of life.

The 48 page booklet is published by VACCHO and can be accessed free of charge through Amazon’s Cloudfront service.

Web: https://dr892t1ezw8d7.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Welcome-to-our-journey-VACCHO.pdf

Cultural safety in providing palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

VACCHO’s Cultural Safety Training Program, including tailored palliative care workshops

VACCHO’s cultural safety training program is available to all health and community service organisations in a variety of standard and tailored formats.

During 2017-18, VACCHO and the three metropolitan Melbourne based palliative care consortia, will be working together to provided cultural safety training tailored for palliative care services staff.

For further information about VACCHO’s cultural safety and palliative care workshops, contact VACCHO’s Aboriginal Palliative Care Project Officer Peter Ah Sam on 9411 9411 or Michael Gourlay, Manager of the North and West Metropolitan Region Palliative Care Consortium on 9486 266 or 0404 255 317.

Cultural Considerations: Providing end of life care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

This 32 page booklet from the Australian Government funded Program of Experience in Palliative Care (PEPA) run by the Queensland University of Technology Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation aims to provide health care services with information about the delivery of cultural care during the end of life journey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The booklet covers topics including: Recognition; Communication styles; Kinship responsibilities; Unspoken communication matters.

Web: http://pepaeducation.com/support-and-education/cultural-considerations-providing-end-of-life-care-for-aboriginal-peoples-and-torres-strait-islander-peoples/

Providing culturally appropriate palliative care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (two separate publications: ‘Practice Principles’ and ‘Resource’)

Also known as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Palliative Care Resource Kit, the ‘Practice Principles’ and ‘Resource’ guides were published in 2004 as part of the National Palliative Care Program of the Australian Government.

The Practice Principles guide includes sections on: Cultural safety; Diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; The impact of past policies and practices; Choice of place of death; Culturally appropriate consent; Ceremonies and practices; Post-death requirements and support.

The Resource guide is designed to support use of the Practice Principles guide as a training resource. It includes a glossary and bibliography, along with further information on supporting cultural needs and supporting choice. The guides can be found via the National Library of Australia’s Australian Government Website Archive.

Web: http://webarchive.nla.gov.au/gov/20140801064435/http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/palliativecare-pubs-indig-resource.htm

Cultural protocols for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

This cultural protocols document from VACCHO is currently in revision. The previous version covered the following topics: Partnership; Identification of Aboriginal status; Understanding the cultural context; Cultural awareness; Relationships and continuity; Consistency; Language; Referrals and assessment.

Web: Not currently available (revised version pending).

Sad news sorry business: Guidelines for caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through death and dying

This 20 page booklet was published in 2015 by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability Team of Queensland Health. It provides guidelines that aim to provide insight into appropriate cultural knowledge and practices to assist people to provide culturally and clinically responsive care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families at the end of life.

The booklet is organised into three main sections:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability
  • The final stages of life
  • Time after passing

Web: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/atsihealth/documents/sorry_business.pdf

Cultural safety and cultural awareness guides and training (not specific to palliative care)

VACCHO’s Cultural Safety Training Program

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) runs a cultural safety training program that is available to all health and community service organisations in a variety of standard and tailored formats.

During 2017-18, VACCHO and the three metropolitan Melbourne based palliative care consortia, will be working together to provided cultural safety training tailored for palliative care services staff.

The VACCHO website explains cultural safety in the following terms:

  • “Cultural safety is about providing quality health care that fits within the familiar cultural values and norms of the person accessing the service that may differ from your own and/or the dominant culture”.

The VACCHO website also explains the difference between cultural awareness and cultural safety:

“Cultural awareness focuses on raising individuals knowledge about cultural experiences that are different from their own. Cultural awareness training maintains an ‘other’ rather than clear self-focus for participants. Cultural awareness also tends to have an individual rather than systemic focus.

“VACCHO’s cultural safety training encompasses some of the information that is often included in cultural awareness training. We do, however, build on cultural awareness training and provide practical tips and skills that can be utilised to improve practice and behaviour, which assist in making Aboriginal peoples feel safe. In shifting the focus to health systems, our participants begin to learn how to strengthen relationships with Aboriginal people, communities and organisations so that access is improved”.

Web: http://www.vaccho.org.au/consultancy/cs/

***For further information about VACCHO’s cultural safety and palliative care workshops, contact VACCHO’s Aboriginal Palliative Care Project Officer Peter Ah Sam on 9411 9411 or Michael Gourlay, Manager of the North and West Metropolitan Region Palliative Care Consortium on 9486 266 or 0404 255 317***

The Building Blocks to Organisational Cultural Responsiveness Toolkit

The Building Blocks to Organisational Cultural Responsiveness Toolkit is an initiative of the North West Metropolitan Region Koolin Balit Primary Care Partnership (PCP) Consortium comprising of: Inner North West Primary Care Partnership; HealthWest Primary Care Partnership; Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership; and North East Primary Care Partnership.

The Toolkit includes an eight minute film, Walk with Us: Supporting Aboriginal Workers, an ‘Asking the Question Training package’, along with:

The Toolkit website explains that the term “cultural responsiveness” is used in the Toolkit to “describe the process of embedding policies and practices leading to culturally responsive and effective services for Aboriginal people across health and human service organisations”.

“Within this context cultural responsiveness includes:

  • improving attitudes, knowledge and understanding of the experiences of Aboriginal community members;
  • developing an appreciation of the impact of dominant culture on Aboriginal people through past and ongoing practices of colonisation;
  • strengthening relationships with the local Aboriginal community;
  • improving the coordination of services provided by mainstream organisations and Aboriginal community organisations to better meet the health needs of Aboriginal people holistically;
  • developing workforce policies and procedures to address barriers that Aboriginal people may experience to accessing and sustaining employment; and
  • developing monitoring mechanisms to ensure the maintenance of cultural competency standards”.

The Toolkit website is organised into twelve sections:

  • Aboriginal Health in Melbourne’s North West – Research and Reports
  • Appropriately identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service Users
  • Providing a Culturally Welcoming, Responsive and Culturally Competent Service to Aboriginal People
  • Developing Aboriginal Community Resources
  • Aboriginal Health Promotion Resources
  • Culturally Aware Communication and Language when referring to Aboriginal People
  • Expanding our Aboriginal Workforce
  • Supporting Aboriginal Worker Wellbeing
  • Models of Capacity Building Partnerships
  • Maintaining Cultural Responsiveness
  • Aboriginal Employment and Traineeship Programs
  • Policy Examples and Templates

Web: http://inwpcp.org.au/toolkit-main-page/

Having a Yarn about health and planning ahead (advance care planning)

Dying to Talk Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Discussion Starter: Working Out What’s Right For You

Dying to Talk is an initiative of Palliative Care Australia that encourages Australians to talk about dying. Dying to Talk aims to reach into the community to normalise dying in Australia and to help Australians work out what’s right for them at the end of their lives.

The Dying to Talk website includes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Discussion Starter that was developed with support from the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) and Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA).

Web: http://dyingtotalk.org.au/aboriginal-torres-strait-islander-discussion-starter/

Taking Control of YOUR Health Journey

The Taking Control of YOUR Health Journey booklet was developed as part of a project funded by the Australian Government to increase awareness of advance care planning in the Aboriginal community.

Printed booklets are available from the Advanced Care Planning Department at Austin Health on 03 9496 5660. The booklet can also be accessed from the website of Advance Care Planning Australia a national advance care planning initiative run by Austin Health.

Web: https://www.advancecareplanning.org.au/docs/default-source/acpa-resource-library/acpa-publications/taking-control-of-your-health-journey-v6.pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Taking care of Dying Time

Aboriginal Community Support Worker Chris Thorne talks about his personal experience with a family member and the value and importance of having an advance care plan in place.

Aboriginal Hospital Liaison Officers (AHLOs) and the Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients Program (ICAP)

All metropolitan public hospitals have workers dedicated to providing support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their families.

These workers usually include somebody identified as an Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer (AHLO) a state government funded program that began in 1982. In 2004, the state government introduced the Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients Program (ICAP). ICAP builds on the AHLO program and is underpinned by a 30 per cent loading on health service funding for Aboriginal inpatients.

The Palliative Care Victoria website includes a four minute audio recording/podcast by Suzanne Nelson, from her time as Aboriginal Health Liaison Worker at Austin Health explaining the Aboriginal Health Liaison Worker role.

NW Metro region hospital AHLO/ICAP contacts include:

The Victorian Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) supports the network of ICAP/AHLO workers across the state, and the Aboriginal Health section of the Department of Human Services and Health (DHHS) website provides further background.

Web: http://www.vaccho.org.au/wd/icap/

History and culture of Aboriginal peoples in Victoria and Australia

AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) website includes a map that attempts to represent the language, tribal or nation groups of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. Groups were included on the map based on the published resources available between 1988 and 1994 which determine the cultural, language and trade boundaries and relationships between groups.

Web: http://aiatsis.gov.au/aboriginal-studies-press/products/aiatsis-map-indigenous-australia

Victorian Aboriginal Language Maps

In the resources section of their website, the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages has a map summarising Aboriginal Languages of Victoria. Additional background on languages history can be found in a research paper published on the website of the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority.

Web: http://www.vaclang.org.au/Resources/maps.html (language map) and http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/documents/alcv/history.pdf (languages history research paper)

Victorian Aboriginal Peoples (history of over 30 languages and clans)

A poster headed ‘The Kulin People of Central Victoria’ (available through the Victorian Governments Aboriginal Victoria website section on Aboriginal places, objects and land management) includes a second page headed ‘Victorian Aboriginal Peoples’.

It outlines that an estimated 20,000-60,000 people speaking over 30 languages lived throughout the area now known as ‘Victoria’ when Europeans arrived in 1835. The accompanying map identifies 33 clan groupings (all locations and spelling indicative only) including the Yorta Yorta peoples of the Murray River Valley, the Gournditch-Mara peoples of the Western District, the Dadidadi peoples of the Mallee and Wimmera, the Brabralung peoples of Gippsland and the Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) peoples of the Kulin nation (Central Victoria).

See separate entry below for more on The Kulin People of Central Victoria, including the Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) of the Birrarung (Yarra) catchment.

Web: http://www.vic.gov.au/system/user_files/Documents/av/Kulin-People-of-Central-Victoria.pdf (see second page for Victorian Aboriginal Peoples)

The Kulin People of Central Victoria, including the Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) of the Birrarung (Yarra) catchment

A poster headed ‘The Kulin People of Central Victoria’ (available through the Victorian Governments Aboriginal Victoria website section on Aboriginal places, objects and land management) explains:

“Long, long ago in the Creation, the all-powerful Bundjiil took the form of the eagle and created the Kulin people – their languages, their laws and their lands.

“Later, Barwool, an ancestral headman, cut the Birrarung (Yarra River) to free the country of floodwaters. This inundated the plain where the Kulin had hunted Kangaroo and formed Narm (Port Phillip Bay). The Kulin are a federation of five distinct but strongly related communities … of what is now known as south central Victoria.

“The five communities are known as:

  • Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri) of the Birrarung (Yarra) catchment
  • Boonerwrung of the bays and south coast
  • Tangurung of the Koriella catchment (Goulburn River)
  • Wathaurung of the western plains
  • Dja Dja Wrung of the northwest region (Loddon River)

“Each of these large groups are divided into a number of smaller, land-owning communities. But all Kulin had as their defining social moiety (totem) either Bundjil, the eagle, or Waa, the raven (crow).”

Web: http://www.vic.gov.au/system/user_files/Documents/av/Kulin-People-of-Central-Victoria.pdf

Victorian Government Aboriginal Victoria website

The Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Victoria website includes includes a heritage section with information on topics including Aboriginal cultural heritage of Victoria; Protection of Aboriginal places and objects; Heritage tools and publications. The website also includes sections on policy; community engagement; and progress with consultations regarding a treaty.

Web: http://www.vic.gov.au/aboriginalvictoria.html

Welcome to Country – Acknowledgement of Country and Traditional Owners

The heritage section of the Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Victoria website includes includes some guidance in relation to Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country and Traditional Owners.

Web: http://www.vic.gov.au/aboriginalvictoria/heritage/welcome-to-country-and-acknowledgement-of-traditional-owners.html