Indigenous Health - Closing the Gap
Fremantle Medicare Local runs a range of programs under the Closing the Gap initiative which focuses on health outcomes for Indigenous Australians to increase their life expectancy. The team works together with local Indigenous organisations and with community members to develop a model of service delivery that is responsive to their needs, and provides ongoing support to health service providers as required. The Closing the Gap team facilitate cultural awareness training and provide up-to-date program information to notify professionals of the various programs that are specific and relevant to Indigenous people.
The Closing the Gap team can provide assistance (such as facilitating transport to specialists or allied health appointments) for patients diagnosed with chronic diseases, young expectant mothers as well as those community members requiring support to access other general health treatment or professionals. The program ultimately aims towards healthcare for all Australians: literally closing the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Please note to access some of the services offered you may need to meet certain eligibility requirements.
Our programs work in five main areas of Indigenous health:
A project officer is employed to assist practices to provide high quality and culturally appropriate care for Indigenous people. The role includes encouraging community members to make greater use of mainstream primary health and allied health care services.
A project officer is dedicated to facilitate cultural awareness training to health professionals so that these professionals can better meet the care needs of Indigenous patients. The training covers up-to-date research on the diversity and different characteristics of urban and traditional Indigenous culture specifically personal discussions around the topic of culturally safe and appropriate practices and gender.
Many people that identify as Indigenous are cautious of hospital settings and health environments and may not be comfortable answering some of the personal questions regarding their health; the Closing the Gap team can offer comfort and support for these patients as well as informing health professionals of the cultural backgrounds of Indigenous people.
A program officer has been appointed to work with young expectant mothers by offering education and support such as: attending antenatal appointments, antenatal care and assistance throughout their pregnancy and parenthood. Additionally, fathers are informed on matters such as contraception and fatherhood. To access the program a patient can contact the Fremantle Medical Local Maternity Program Officer on (08) 9319 0555 or send us an email.
A team of engagement workers plan, organise and run a range of cultural activities such as health camps where young Indigenous men are encouraged to explore and experience their heritage and learn about their own family’s history and culture. Additionally, the team provide support for Indigenous males in situations such as health checks and allied health professionals appointments. To find out more contact a Closing the Gap team member at Fremantle Medicare Local on (08) 9319 0555 or send us an email.
Our Care Coordinator can:
- Help Indigenous people understand their chronic health condition so that they can take a more active role in the control of their condition
- Advise patients about the importance of following their care plans
- Encourage GPs to develop care plans and subsequent referral for active follow up
- Assist practices provide care coordination for patients on a GP Management Plan. This is done by using various supports and referrals to relevant services, improving the health and wellbeing of the local Indigenous community
Speak to your GP to see if you meet the criteria for this program and would benefit from the Care Coordinators support to better manage your chronic disease.
*Please note: The term Indigenous people covers both Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders.
Fremantle Medicare Local gratefully acknowledge the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.