Indigenous courtesy phones to streamline support services
Two Indigenous courtesy phones have been installed at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) designed to streamline access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to maternity, mental health and hospital liaison services.
The phones are housed in bright yellow hoods and highlighted with Aboriginal artwork designed by Metro North Hospital and Health Service staff member, Ronald John Abala Wurraghantha – “little spirit man”.
The installation of the two phones is a significant step for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who seek medical attention at Queensland’s largest tertiary hospital.
The initiative resulted from a cultural audit that emphasised the need for improved visuals for Indigenous patients seeking assistance when arriving at RBWH.
Each month, the Indigenous Hospital Liaison Officer’s service an average of 1,500 clients at RBWH. During 2017-2018, 32,578 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients attended outpatients and 3,166 accessed the Emergency and Trauma Centre.
By providing an instant service, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors to RBWH will now be able to be met by an Indigenous health worker, which will expedite the health care process.
Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit, Paul Drahm, said Indigenous patients presenting at the Emergency Trauma Centre or to Admissions at RBWH are now able to dial 1, 2 or 3, depending on which service they require and have the ability to speak to an Indigenous Health Worker to obtain immediate assistance from the minute they arrive.
“With the installation of the easily identified phones, an Indigenous patient’s line of sight upon entering the hospital will immediately be drawn to the bright yellow hoods covered in Indigenous artwork, this will go a long way to helping them on their healing journey by alleviating any fear or concern from the outset,” Mr Drahm said.
“Indigenous patients arriving at RBWH, especially those from rural and remote communities can be overwhelmed due to the size of the hospital. If obvious help is not immediately available or staff attempting to determine the cause of their visit are not aware the patient is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin can cause patients to leave without treatment. These phones will make their visit easier, wait times will be shorter which will also provide them the ability to be treated in a culturally aware environment.”
Indigenous Professional Lead at Metro North Mental Health, Chris Henaway said the service would also benefit Indigenous consumers who come into the hospital and have enquires regarding family members.
“It will lessen wait times for patients who now have the ability to speak to somebody instantly, the Indigenous Hospital Coordinators for Mental Health will be available to answer calls,” Mr Henaway said.