Quality of care report 2012/13

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Aboriginal transition officer / Improving Aboriginal Health


Porsha Atkinson,
Aboriginal Health Transition Officer

The Aboriginal Health Transition Officer role is an innovative new position established in August 2012, as part of the Hume Region Closing the Gap initiative, which aims to improve the client journey between the hospital and primary care services with particular focus on:

  • Reducing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people leaving the emergency department prior to or without completing treatment.
  • improving the rate of ATSI people who leave the Emergency Department and are linked into an alternative/additional health service.
  • ATSI clients who require support and or assistance with referral and follow-up to other community services.

As Aboriginal Transition Officer at GV Health, Porsha Atkinson provides support and guidance to ATSI patients and their families during and following their presentation to the Emergency Department.

Porsha links patients into primary health services and community supports, ensuring that follow up care continues and that any barriers or restrictions to receiving care are identified and resolved.

An important benefit of the project has been improved relationships between GV Health, Primary Health Services and Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative within the Goulburn Valley area.

Strengthening partnerships between local health providers is vital to ensure the success of changes to services. If the commitment to close the health gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is to be successful, collaboration between organisations is essential.

GV Health measures the following Key Performance Indicators for ATSI clients;

  • Left at own risk without treatment
  • Left after clinical advice regarding treatment
  • Left at own risk after treatment started

Since she started in this role, Porsha has seen more than 250 clients.
From September 2012 to June 2013, there has been an overall reduction in the number of ATSI clients leaving the ED, with regards to the above KPIs, reducing from 5.3 % to 4.7%.

Cheryl-Lee, the mother of a GV Health patient said she was happy with how the visit to GV Health and the support provided by Porsha while they were in the emergency department.

“It was nice to know that we had support from someone from the community. It made us feel more comfortable to wait and if we had any questions, we knew we could ask her, if I was too shy to ask the doctor,” said Cheryl-Lee.

Porsha works on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and can be contacted on 0419 922 056.