What does a culturally safe service look like for Aboriginal families?

What does a culturally safe service look like for Aboriginal families?

The Looking Forward Moving Forward research team recently published an article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health special issue on the Global Health and Wellbeing of First Nations people. The article recounts the co-design process undertaken to develop a service-based evaluation that included the service experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients accessing mental health and drug and alcohol support services.  

The co-design process was held and directed by Elders who are recognised leaders and wisdom holders of culture. The status of Elders naturally affords them a position of legitimacy and authority. The Elders bring a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience (both lived and professional) to shared decision making with service leaders.”

The Elder co-researcher group provided leadership and guidance throughout these co-design workshops to ensure the evaluation not only responded to the priorities of the service organisations but more importantly to the Aboriginal community.  As key stakeholders, the Aboriginal community, will benefit greatly from the service changes implemented as an outcome of the evaluation itself. The Elders involved in the co-design process were co-authors on the paper with the research team.  

One Elder at one of the co-design workshops stated how it was important to engage family members alongside the client for it “keeps the service respectful”, because “humanness is the bottom line”.  

The publication describes the key learnings from the co-design process undertaken to develop the service evaluation.
(i) engage directly and regularly with Elders as co-researchers
(ii) develop a shared understanding about taking a strengths-based approach
(iii) the need for service staff to find appropriate ways to develop their level of cultural responsiveness, and
(iv) include family and community in understanding collective experiences of wellbeing and recovery.

These learnings have been taken forward into the trial of the service experience survey which concludes at the end of 2021.  

Read the article here: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/16/8555