As an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you may not see looking after a family member or friend as being anything out of the ordinary. You may think of yourself as a mother, grandmother, brother, aunt or uncle etc. and not even see yourself as a "Carer" at all. Caring for your elders or a family member with a disability is just a normal part of your life and culture. You may even think of the word "Carer" to mean a Home Care worker or a kinship relative who is a foster parent.
If you don't think of yourself as a Carer, there may be resources and services, both in health and hospital services and outside these, that are available that you may not know about or use.
Different family members may also have differing caring roles within the family and therefore be hidden to services. Aboriginal people from rural communities may also have similar problems to other rural Carers because of distances they have to travel and a lack of services.
Aboriginal people generally have much poorer health than non-Aboriginal people and therefore caring for someone in your family or community is more common for Aboriginal Australians (12.4%) than non-Indigenous Australians (10.5%). Health problems can start very early, with lower birth weight and higher rates of infant death, earlier onset of many chronic illnesses, and lower life expectancy.
There are also issues that may impact on an Aboriginal Carer resulting in you being hidden to Health Services. Past personal, family and cultural experiences may cause you to be distrustful about going to government or mainstream services for help. You may feel more comfortable accessing services staffed by Aboriginal people. Unfortunately, the number of Aboriginal health staff is limited but if you would prefer to see an Aboriginal staff member DO ask if there is a staff member available. Our Local Health District has recognised that many non-Aboriginal staff lack knowledge of Aboriginal culture and understanding about the impact of past practices, such as removal of children, on Aboriginal people. Therefore, all health service staff must now attend cultural training about how these practices have affected the stolen generation and Aboriginal people in general. We hope this extra training and knowledge will help SLHD staff to close the health gap and be able to work better with local Aboriginal people.
Services for Carers in SLHD:
|Name of Service:||Information and Contacts:|
|Aboriginal Liaison Service
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
|Aboriginal Liaison Officers provide services to in-patients and out-patients and their Carers and families at RPAH
Ph: 9515 9278 (Male)
9515 9277 (Female)
|Alleena/Warrambucca||Aboriginal Home Care Service
Ph: 1300 797 606
Address: 12A Dadley St Alexandria
|Wyanga||Aboriginal Aged Care
Ph: 9319 7175
Address: 33 Cope St Redfern