St John of God Midland: carers reconcile cultural differences


St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals chief executive Glen Power and Kerri Colegate.
St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals chief executive Glen Power and Kerri Colegate.

CULTURAL care advisors who provide a link between Aboriginal communities and Midland hospitals are hosting events for Reconciliation Week.

Kerri Colegate and Glynis Ozies were appointed to the new roles at St John of God Midland Public and Private Hospitals earlier this year.

Ms Colegate said hosting events at the hospital, such as this week’s (May 27-June 3) Reconciliation Week morning tea, helped highlight the need to provide culturally appropriate care to patients.

“For me, as a Noongar woman, it’s important that we learn from each other, share our good and bad stories, and support each other,” she said.

“It’s about being humble and patient with one another to succeed.”

The east metropolitan region is home to about one quarter of all Aboriginal people in Perth.

Ms Colegate said the first step to building healthy, respectful relationships between the hospital and local Aboriginal people was about providing culturally appropriate care.

“We are focused on enhancing communication before and after patients are hospitalised, which are both key areas for ensuring the best possible outcomes,” she said.

The experience begins with a patient’s journey to and from hospital.

“Discharge planning is particularly important, especially when a patient wants to discharge early against medical advice,” she said.

“That is where I need to take a hands-on role and help the patients understand their medical needs.”

The hospitals’ chief executive Glen Power said St John of God hoped to enhance Aboriginal health outcomes in the area.

“We have strong representation of Aboriginal staff across many caregiver roles at the hospitals and we are currently recruiting for an Aboriginal medical practitioner to be Director of Aboriginal Health to further ensure we meet our goals,” he said. “We are also committed to creating a network of Elders and family representatives from across the Swan region, who will work with us to establish and maintain strong connections between the hospital and Aboriginal community.”