Asthma Management Handbook

Cultural and psychosocial considerations when providing care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Recommendations

Health professionals should ensure that they and their staff have information and training on how to provide culturally secure care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

How this recommendation was developed

Consensus

Based on clinical experience and expert opinion (informed by evidence, where available).

Where appropriate and possible, work with an interpreter who speaks the person’s first language.

How this recommendation was developed

Consensus

Based on clinical experience and expert opinion (informed by evidence, where available).

More information

Culturally secure asthma care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Primary care services can aim to deliver healthcare that is culturally secure. However, only the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person themselves can determine whether their care is culturally safe or respectful.1

Making the healthcare system a secure environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples involves cultural respect, which involves not only respecting cultural difference but recognition, protection and continued advancement of the inherent rights, cultures and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.2

Cultural awareness (or ‘cultural sensitivity’) among individual health professionals involves sensitivity to the similarities and differences between different cultures to enable effective communication with members of another cultural group.3

Training in cultural awareness and  ‘cultural safety’ is available for non-Indigenous health professionals who provide healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Involvement of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health workers and health practitioners in asthma care

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners can provide self-management education for people with asthma and parents of children with asthma. Culture-specific programs may be more appropriate than mainstream programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.4

An education program (three sessions) conducted by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers in primary health care in  the Torres Strait region reduced the number of school days missed due to wheezing among school-aged children, and increased carers’ knowledge of asthma, the contents of the child’s written asthma action plan, and where the written asthma action plan was kept.5 However, it did not reduce the rate of asthma flare-ups, compared with children whose families did not participate.5

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and practitioners can provide health care services that are reimbursable through Medicare.67

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References

  1. National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. Creating the NACCHO Cultural Safety Training Standards and Assessment process. A background paper. National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Canberra, 2011. Available from: http://www.naccho.org.au/promote-health/cultural-safety/
  2. Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council Standing Committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Working Party. Cultural respect framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, 2004 -2009. Department of Health South Australia, Adelaide, 2004. Available from: http://www.sapo.org.au/pub/pub2142.html
  3. Thomson N. Cultural respect and related concepts: a brief summary of the literature. Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin. 2005; 5: 1-11. Available from: http://archive.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/html/htmlbulletin/bull54/reviews/bulletinreviewsthomson.htm
  4. Bailey EJ, Cates CJ, Kruske SG, et al. Culture-specific programs for children and adults from minority groups who have asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009; Issue 2: CD006580. Available from: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006580.pub4/full
  5. Valery PC, Masters IB, Taylor B, et al. An education intervention for childhood asthma by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers: a randomised controlled trial. Med J Aust. 2010; 192: 574-9. Available from: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2010/192/10/education-intervention-childhood-asthma-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander
  6. Australian Government Department of Health. Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Medicare Items. Australian Government, Canberra, 2013. Available from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mbsprimarycare-chronicdiseasemanagement
  7. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Medicare Health Assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. Australian Government, Canberra, 2013. Available from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/mbsprimarycareATSIMBSitem715