King Edward Memorial Hospital starts Aboriginal Volunteer program

King Edward Memorial Hospital starts Aboriginal Volunteer program

SUBIACO is home to Australia’s first hospital-based Aboriginal volunteers program. Based at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH), the new Aboriginal Volunteer program creates a culturally supportive environment for Aboriginal mothers and families.

Aboriginal senior health promotion officer Janinne Gliddon said Aboriginal women who accessed KEMH often had unique needs.

“Many women who are patients at KEMH come from regional and very remote areas,” she said.

“Some can stay for weeks or months at a time; this can be a lonely, isolated and scary time.

“The goal is that Aboriginal patients at our hospital will feel more supported in a culturally appropriate way, which we hope contributes to optimum health outcomes for mum and baby.”

In WA, about 3000 babies are born preterm each year, with approximately one in 12 pregnancies ending preterm.

Rates of preterm birth among Aboriginal Australians and disadvantaged communities are double.

Women and Infants Research Foundation chief operations director Deb Portughes said the Aboriginal volunteer program was a major milestone.

“These volunteers will focus solely on Aboriginal patients at KEMH, and will be an invaluable asset,” she said.