Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families

Children’s Health Queensland is dedicated to closing the gap by providing culturally appropriate services that make a real difference in the lives of Indigenous children. Closing the Gap is the overarching framework which draws together the range of activities, programs and funded projects specifically targeted toward improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

There are significant health inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, with Indigenous child (0-4 years) mortality rates between 2006-10 reported as being 223 per 100,000 compared to 117 per 100,000 in non-Indigenous children (0-4 years)[1]. To contribute toward closing the gap, it is essential that we have a suite of culturally-competent children’s health services encompassing community child health services and child and youth mental health services.

We provide a range of services and programs aimed at improving access to health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families and addressing the prevalence of preventable health conditions in Indigenous communities.

Statewide services

Middle ear disease (medically known as otitis media) is common in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is bad for the health, child development and educational outcomes of children, and impacts their families and communities. The Deadly Ears Program is Queensland Health’s State-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ear Health Program for children. Read more

Cultural capability staff training

At Children’s Health Queensland we strive towards having culturally capable healthcare woven into every element of our service. Cultural capability is the ongoing responsibility of our hospital and health service and each staff member within it, to apply their knowledge and skills to improve the patient journey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

We deliver our services in line with Queensland Health’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability Framework 2010 – 2033 Guiding Principles. These are:

  • Cultural Respect and Recognition
  • Communication
  • Relationships and Partnerships
  • Capacity Building

Hospital services

Indigenous Liaison Service

The Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital’s Indigenous Liaison service aims to improve health outcomes for children and families from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by:

  • explaining hospital services and procedures to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and families
  • supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in accessing the range of services available to them, such as social work, travel, welfare, and accommodation
  • being an advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families when important matters are discussed and communication is difficult
  • assisting the Social Work Department in providing culturally appropriate assessments and services (e.g. through cultural assessments, linking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies and networks)
  • providing cultural advice and information to hospital staff and other hospital services
  • working with other hospital and health services and community supports across the state to help patients and families before they arrive at hospital and after they have been discharged.

Indigenous liaison officers are available to provide assistance and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and their families. You can ask hospital staff if you would like to access this service or call a liaison officer on 0411 654 079.

The hospital also has a dedicated meeting place on Level 2 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This space allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to meet in a quiet place hold meetings or, relax and take time away from the clinical setting.

Other liaison services are also available at Community Child Health and Child and Youth Mental Health services, to help reduce access barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

[1] Data source: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework 2012 report for Queensland