Video - Identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander


I'd like to acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional custodians, in which this was filmed, the Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi) and also where it's going to be viewed, in the Jinibara country. And all the people, traditional custodians that live upon this area. I also want to pay my respects to, not only to the people, but also the country, most importantly, is the country and the plants and the animals of this country. Thank you.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a higher incidence of chronic disease, so it's important that we know whether you identify as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. We need to know whether your mum or your grandma had chronic heart disease. If we don't identify our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people when they attend our health services, we don't know that we're properly closing the gap in health care. The only reason we need to know is so that we as clinicians can actually ensure that you get the care that you need. It's important, please tell us.

I think it's good because it gives you a pathway to your health needs, offering programs that is appropriate to you and which will support you in your health journey. Well, it's getting the best possible outcome for your health needs, it means that you have a clearer understanding of what your body's doing. Although they've been there to support me and guide me and also explain what's happening to my body each time I've come in for a different service.

Okay, as a health worker, it's my position to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in an appropriate way. This is more than just ticking a box or filling out a form. This gives our patients in our hospital culturally appropriate care.

As hospital liaison officers we are provided with a list each morning that identifies all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients within the hospital. This provides us with the opportunity to visit our patients and provide a culturally and clinically responsive service. We are also then able to assist with any discharge planning, which lays the foundations for a continuity of care back into community.

Identity is everything to a person. It's your make-up, it's who you are. It doesn't matter what your heritage is. But when it comes to my heritage it's extra important because it's my heritage, it's all about me. Identifying as Aboriginal, identifying as South Sea Island, it's pretty important to me. When it comes to health services, well, the good thing is you start to understand your community, you get to understand who your community is by going to these services. Because of that, you know, the walls of being scared of going to the doctors slowly comes down

Because you know, so you’re with people that you know that community.

So this is the importance of actually identifying, identifying yourself within this community.

There has been some referral pathways that maybe have been handled beautifully, because we have identified. I know that Bami went and had a dental appointment and was supported by a health worker in getting access to that appointment. I know that when Brent presented to the emergency department, we had some hospital liaison officers drop in and check on us to make sure that we were traveling okay, and if we needed anything.

I also know that when we were pregnant and expecting our beautiful little girl on our lap here, we got a referral program, or we had a referral into a closing the gap program, which was all around birthing, antenatal care and postnatal care and we actually had 24 hour access to this beautiful bunch of midwives, around any concerns you might have had, whether movement was normal, whether, you know, our journey was normal. So I think Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service does it so well sometimes you're not aware that these cultural supports are being put in place once you identify. And because you asked if you want someone to come check in on you, you know that person as a community member, sometimes we forget, they're actually a hospital and health worker, because they are community and they support us so well. But I think that it's important for us to identify because there's certain things and certain risk factors that we may not be aware of and the health professionals are. And then there's some beautiful programs in place to support us on those journeys.

Identification is a straightforward question that we need to ask all our patients at all our sites across the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. It's important that we ask the question are you of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island descent. This will allow us to support all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who access our services and that require assistance around their health needs. Part of our service is to ensure that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health people have access to culturally appropriate services. It's important that we ask the question, if you have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island descent. This is to support your health needs when you're accessing our services. So please, when you’re entering any of our facilities, please answer the question. If you're not asked, please let the staff know that you are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.

We can't assume that people that access our service are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent or are not.

My myself, me. I'm an Aboriginal person and it's very important for me to identify and as it is for my children to identify. The reason that I think it's very important to identify is that we have a lot of health issues within my family. My mother is a very well known community elder and was very respected in this community. Her name was Aunty Betty and as a lot of you know that her health needs were very concerning, she had diabetes and heart issues. So for us as a family is very important that all medical staff that are assessing us for any operations or procedures, that they are aware of the health issues within my family. So if you're accessing our facility, please, one identify and two make sure that if our staff do not ask questions, that you actually come forward and let them know.

Don't be. Because it's about you and your health and that's the most important thing. Don’t let it be a shame job. Let it be that you come and face your demons or whatever it is that you feel that you don’t want to come. It's about supporting you and giving you the best outcome.

Every patient. Every site. Every time.

Last updated: December 2022