Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers’ and Liaison Officers’ role in quality acute health care services
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners and Liaison Officers are qualified professionals in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care.
- There are different terms for this profession and a variety of roles for this workforce which are key to closing gaps in health, wellbeing, and social outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Despite their crucial role, their work is challenged by lack of clarity about their roles, diverse expectations, racism, varying levels of acceptance by non-Indigenous clinicians of their value in health care and working in culturally unsafe environments.
- To explore how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners/Liaison Officers are involved in the delivery of quality hospital care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- To explore how the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners/Liaison Officers facilitate improved health outcomes and experiences of care.
- Yarning sessions will be conducted with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners to document in detail their role in acute health care services.
- Dadirri (deep listening), photovoice and patient journey mapping will explore steps involved in a patient’s healthcare journey and their experiences with Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/ Practitioners/Liaison Officers.
- Surveys and semi-structured interviews will be used to explore non-Indigenous health professionals and managers’ experiences of working with Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners/Liaison Officers.
- Working with hospitals based in New South Wales, Northern Territory and South Australia, this study will provide a detailed picture of the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners/Liaison Officers contribute to quality acute health care.
- This information will result in improved methods of assessing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s hospital experiences and will inform hospital improvement processes to ensure experiences are culturally safe, inclusive and high quality.
- The role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers emerged from within the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector where they play a vital role in improving access to primary health care services, connecting services with communities and contributing to team approaches to culturally safe and effective care.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners/Liaison Officers provide emotional support, advice regarding cultural practices, clinical services, health promotion, support for social services and role model holistic health care.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers/Practitioners/ Liaison Officers experience high workloads with insufficient resourcing, have job descriptions that are not matched well to actual role, lack access to decision-makers, and do not have structured career pathways that enable them to grow as part of the broader hospital workforce.
This project is in partnership with Flinders University, The University of Adelaide, Wardliparringa Aboriginal Health Equity, and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. It is supported by National Health and Medical Research Council.
We are interested in hearing about Aboriginal peoples’ experiences of being in hospital. Please refer to the information sheet on this page to participate in our study.