Forgot Password

Sign In


  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

Burns units need to cater for Indigenous kids

Photo: Burns units need to cater for Indigenous kids
Aboriginal liaison workers in burn units, and greater cultural competence by clinicians in health services, are urgently needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander burns patients who have the highest burn injury rates of all Australians.

Researchers are calling for the urgent need for culturally safe and for holistic care to be factored into hospital treatment and post-injury care for the large number of people from remote communities presenting with serious burns, particularly infants and children and their carers and parents.

In a major study funded by the Australian Government NHMRC, researchers at Flinders University are working with the George Institute for Global Health and UNSW Sydney to address these issues.

With burn injuries among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at least double the rate of other children in Australia, the researchers interviewed 76 clinicians in multidisciplinary burn teams around Australia about their burn care for their families.
The resulting findings, published in the journal Burns (Elsevier), conclude there are “clear opportunities to improve healthcare” for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

“Burns care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in Australia is still predominantly informed by non-Indigenous concepts of health, healing and care delivery,” says lead author, Flinders University PhD candidate Sarah Fraser.  

“The disjuncture between Western biomedical and Indigenous healthcare paradigms negatively impacts the delivery of care.”
Burns care is an important but not isolated example, Ms Fraser says.

“The current power imbalance in favour of the scientific approaches to burns care extenuates the issue and constructive action is required to address this inequity.”

Starting with care provisions in remote community clinics, the Coolamon project led by UNSW Professor Rebecca Ivers from the George Institute seeks to understand the gaps in care and bring better understandings of cultural and social requirements into major metropolitan burns units.

“Emergency and trauma settings, including burns units, are critical for provision of appropriate care for life-threatening injuries and rehabilitation afterwards,” she says. 

“However, care delivered needs to be holistic, and better address the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families.”

Flinders University researcher Dr Tamara Mackean, who focuses on Australian healthcare delivery from an Indigenous perspective, says the research project is very important.

“Addressing these issues is a critical means by which acute care services can address broader issues of quality and safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and meet the national standards of care set by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care,” says Associate Professor Mackean.

“Achievement of these standards will contribute to redressing health inequities in relation to childhood burn injuries.”


Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend

  • Remaining Characters: 500