Primary content

Authors

R Sharman (Lead)

V Murray

Aims

The "Let’s yarn with the Aboriginal community of Albury/Wodonga”  project  was  led by  Lung Foundation Australia  in collaboration with Hume RICS and aimed  to  raise awareness  and understanding of lung cancer in  the local Aboriginal community. Greater awareness was achieved by providing education for Aboriginal Health Workers and the wider community about lung cancer, treatments and support services.

This initial project has led to the involvement of Hume RICS in further work; such as the Aboriginal Cancer Partnership Project funded by the Cancer Institute of NSW, which focuses on increasing the knowledge of Aboriginal Health Workers along the Murray River of NSW around cancer screening, treatment and palliative care by facilitating placements within cancer services.  This project aims to develop a two-way learning between Aboriginal services and mainstream cancer services to build skills, knowledge and capacity of the Aboriginal health work force in cancer care.

Method

An Aboriginal Project Steering Group with 50% Aboriginal membership, was established to advice on the Aboriginal projects and a Project Coordinator and an Aboriginal Project Officer were appointed.   Successful  education sessions and placements  were conducted at  radiation, chemotherapy  and  palliative care units which  provided  an understanding of treatment options , referral pathways and  supportive care services.

Results

Several digital resources were developed in addition to an Aboriginal cancer awareness pin and an Aboriginal support group. Cultural awareness training has been provided for private oncology practices and a DVD is being developed around radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Hume RICS will continue to partner with Aboriginal Health Workers in the Border and Hume region cancer network, as further funding has been received from the Victorian Aboriginal Palliative Collaborative to undertake a project to provide culturally appropriate education around palliative care and advanced care planning for Aboriginal Health and Community Workers to enable them to inform their communities about end of life issues.

Implications

The success of these projects demonstrates the benefits of Aboriginal mainstream cancer services and Aboriginal organisations working together to achieve better outcomes for the Indigenous community. Aboriginal Health Workers in the Border East Cancer Network region have embraced the education provided which has enabled them to inform their community around cancer awareness and symptoms.  Further work is required to extend the education to other areas of Victoria and NSW.