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New course to create better care for Indigenous Australians

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Developed by the Aged Care Channel (ACC) in partnership with the Department of Health, the Caring for Indigenous Australians: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People course aims to help inform aged care facilities across Australia of the cultural considerations of caring for Indigenous Australians.

Officials say the program took six months to put together with the help of research, lots of resources, government input and guidance of Indigenous people as well as visits to different aged care facilities in Pilbara and northern Adelaide.

The program is of utmost importance because Indigenous Australians do have a series of complex needs different to the rest of the population due to their history and access to health in certain areas.

The need to provide culturally-appropriate care is a crucial part of the person-centered approach that aged care facilities all over Australia should endeavor to adopt.

Officials say the goal of this program is to recognize how to respond to the variations in cultural needs of Indigenous Australians receiving care as there are significant regional differences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, each with complex and diverse ways of life. Language, music and art vary in each area, but a connection with culture, community and the land seems to be common to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the board. The main objective of the course is to increase understanding between cultures.

Additionally, aged care facilities strive to try and mirror the home-life individuals once had on the outside and thus attention to cultural differences and details are at the forefront of ensuring the continued happiness and comfort of residents.

The program will help address the fundamental need for culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal people, some who may need to use aged care services at an earlier stage of their lives than others.

In order for the program to succeed, there will be a need to help staff understand the impact of historical events and past government policies - along with broadening their appreciation of Indigenous culture and the health challenges faced by some people.

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