Into the Dreaming
An innovative new resource kit has been developed in NSW to help local Aboriginal communities feel more welcome in palliative care settings and start inclusive and culturally appropriate conversations about end of life planning.
“Into the Dreaming”: A Guide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through “Sorry Business” was launched by the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) and Aboriginal Health Unit at Moree Hospital, Tamworth Hospital, Taree Hospital, Newcastle John Hunter Hospital, Calvary Mater Newcastle and multiple health sites across the district earlier this year. It was produced in consultation with Elders from across the HNELHD district, through a series of ‘cancer and palliative yarn ups’ and also in partnership with Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle and MyNetCare Network.
According to Tony Martin, Director Aboriginal Health Unit at HNELHD, the resource was developed to provide culturally sensitive, respectful, responsive and appropriate methods of communication when dealing with health care and Sorry Business with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.
“This booklet has been produced to improve the effectiveness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s journey through the system for those that are affected by palliative illnesses – ‘Sorry Business” who are located across local Hunter New England communities.
“Opening up these types of conversations with others assists in reinforcing the importance of health journeys from an Aboriginal viewpoint,” said Mr Martin.
Aboriginal Health Unit project coordinator Rose Wadwell said the resources were designed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people to help start conversations within their family units and also make people feel more comfortable and informed about the processes involved in palliative care.
"It's a very beautiful resource, there's lots of artwork, there's a lot of storytelling," Mrs Waddell told local newspaper, the Moree Champion.
“We support each other through our journey as "Aboriginal people, through our storytelling, languages, song, dance, art. We are more contemporary today and we continue to express ourselves through visual and performing arts, songs, multimedia, poetry, plays and other scriptwriting. We are very diverse people in our sickness journey.
"We know there is little or no uptake of Aboriginal people to palliative care services. This is not okay.”
Mrs Waddell said it was important for Aboriginal people to start planning their sickness journey 'Into the Dreaming' and making sure they have the support to receive palliative care as soon as they need it.
The resources feature a range of colourful and detailed artworks from a range of local Aboriginal artists, which visually tell stories of grief, loss, frailty and hope.
"Our hope is that the artworks and the resources will ensure that Aboriginal people feel welcome in palliative care," Mrs Wadwell said.
Download and view the Into the Dreaming booklet on Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) website here.
National Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The theme of this year’s National Reconciliation Week is ‘Grounded in Truth: Walk Together with Courage’.
Palliative Care Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Discussion Starter and card game is available to view and download here.