This plan focuses strongly on cultural awareness training for caregivers, increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and closing the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Each hospital has its own actions under the Reconciliation Action Plan, which provides a formalised framework that documents the hospital’s commitment to contribute to reconciliation in Australia.

Kerri Colegate, Aboriginal Engagement and Cultural Advisor at St John of God Midland Public Hospital, said her hospital supports not only the patient, but also the family members of the patient and the hospital’s caregivers.

Cultural competency workshops take place at St John of God Midland Public Hospital to provide education to all staff on the importance of culturally appropriate care for Aboriginal patients accessing the hospital, and to ensure effective inclusion and engagement with family members.

‘Cultural Conversations’ have become a big part of the training, giving caregivers the opportunity to reflect with Kerri and her team on their daily interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the hospital, and how they can learn from each experience.

Kerri said St John of God Midland Public Hospital focuses not only on bettering the patient’s experience in the hospital, but also on following through to their outpatient treatment. Kerri and the Aboriginal Engagement Team are strengthening relationships with local Aboriginal communities to ensure that the discharge planning for the patient runs smoothly, providing access to medical support when needed.

Kerri also works closely with the Human Resources department, providing advice and guidance when hiring Indigenous staff and mentoring them to help with a smooth transition into the workplace.

Kerri is pleased with how the hospital is progressing with reconciliation and how caregivers are embracing the support and advice from the Aboriginal Engagement Team.