Optimal cancer care begins with creating a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment for all patients, acknowledging that hospitals may be considered a place of fear for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Supporting the delivery of optimal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer
This section provides information and guidance regarding how to support key principles and concepts to help deliver optimal care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer, under the following themes:
Engaging and involving local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities early in both the planning and the delivery of health services and programs is an important way to develop a strong relationship with the local community. Building strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will help foster referral pathways to culturally responsive and safe services.
A fundamental step towards improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to incorporate culturally respectful communication into the mainstream health system, which does not necessarily align with, and is not responsive to, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures.
Men’s and Women’s Business is fundamental to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Health professionals may be facing a gender-related barrier if having trouble obtaining information. Where possible, it is suggested that services are provided by a health professional of the same gender as the patient. Guidance regarding preferences should be sought directly from patients, rather than assumed.
Creating cultural safety in the context of Men’s and Women’s Business during healthcare
Higher levels of health literacy may result in greater patient engagement with health services, improved prevention and earlier detection of cancer and therefore better clinical outcomes and superior patient experiences.
Strategies to promote health literacy and improve perceptions of mainstream healthcare