Online Program

Embedding Cultural Competence in maternity services to improve outcomes for Aboriginal women and infants

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Roz Walker, Associate Professor, Centre for Research Excellence in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Background: Aboriginal women experience poor maternity outcomes compared with other women in Australia.  Few mechanisms and resources exist to support health services and professionals to provide culturally responsive care to Aboriginal women. An audit of antenatal care in Western Australia (WA) in 2010 found that 75% of services fail to provide culturally competent (CC) care to Aboriginal women. Yet existing policies state that CC of hospital services and staff is ‘critical to achieve positive outcomes for both mother and baby’ and a priority reform area in closing the gap in Aboriginal maternal and child health outcomes.

Methods: The audit findings were provided to key health services personnel and Aboriginal women during an extensive consultation. Based on their feedback and a review of the literature an individual and organisational Cultural Competence Assessment Toolkit (CCAT) was developed, trialled and evaluated with 75 staff in two hospitals.

Results: All participants found the CCAT highly relevant and useful to effectively enhance organisational and workforce CC in health services and policy sectors with great potential to be effective if embedded as part of the CQI mechanism in maternity services.

Conclusion: A review of the maternity services framework and indicators has recommended the CCAT be implemented as part of the National Maternity Services Plan. Two further studies in WA are also examining the potential for embedding CCAT in education policy and practice reform to enhance the quality of and access to maternal health services to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and other marginalised populations.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify and discuss the critical importance of acknowledging and taking culture into account in our individual, organisational and professional practice. Reflect on own cultural competence in health practice

Keyword(s): Cultural Competency, Health Care Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: have been the principal or co-principal of several state and national funded grants focusing on improving Aboriginal maternal and child health outcomes. Among my scientific interests has been the development of tools and strategies for enhancing individual, organisational and professionall cultural competence across the health sector.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.