Abstracts Accepted for Plenary


Abstracts Accepted for Plenary

Helping our patients to see: An urban pathway for improving the vision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Dr Matthew Watson, Dr Richelle Douglas, Kerry Woods, A/Prof Angus Turner, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service and Lions Eye Institute

Background: Aboriginal Medical Service clinic staff appear to be the enablers of Indigenous patient attendance at ophthalmology outreach appointments. [i] In most areas of Australia, Indigenous patients are three times more likely than non-Indigenous patients not to attend a scheduled medical appointment. The Lions Eye Institute (LEI) and Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service (DYHS) have trialled an “urban pathway” providing the services of retinal photography, optometrists, ophthalmologists and Aboriginal Health Workers in a culturally appropriate environment.

Method: Audit data from 2019 was collected demonstrating the number of patients seen, attendance and waiting times for surgery or intravitreal injection.

Results: 249 patients were seen at the eye clinic located at DYHS in 2019 and half of these were “walk-ins”. The surgical attendance rate of 88%, and the average wait time was 54 days.

Conclusion: Collaboration of specialist eye-services with a culturally appropriate Aboriginal Health Service is a successful model to improve surgical attendances and wait times. Similar models have the potential to result in programs which can begin to ‘close the gap’ in visual outcomes for Aboriginal Peoples.

What does success look like in Indigenous eye health?

Shaun Tatipata, Penelope Smith, David Aanundsen, Jagath Happuhannadige, The Fred Hollows Foundation

There are well established approaches and corresponding systems for measurement of impact in eye health in Australia. These have been developed over decades and fit well into the broader Australian healthcare system.

As the Indigenous Australia Program (IAP) of the Fred Hollows Foundation (FHF) begins the design for the implementation of its new strategy, much thought has gone into what positive impact looks like from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community perspective, rather than solely from an organisational perspective.

Using the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Uluru Statement from the Heart, as foundation documents, we have tried to centre the question “what does success look like for Indigenous communities?”.  As a result, the IAP now uses an intercultural framework to design impact measurement for its new strategy. This presentation will outline the journey that IAP is on and provide an overview of its draft measures that aim to demonstrate and assess the level of success in meeting the aspirations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Our journey into Indigenous eye health, a good news story

Emma Robertson, Marc Hicks, Karadi Aboriginal Corporation

Karadi Aboriginal Corporation is an ACCHO in Southern Tasmania working in primary health care to provide services to their local community. This service is part of a collaboration of five organisations state-wide inclusive of Karadi Aboriginal Corporation, South East Aboriginal Corporation, Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, Flinders Island Aboriginal Association and Cape Barren. The service implements the use of preventative eye health care measures and a retinal camera. Karadi is one of the 155 sites selected to receive a retinal camera through the Federal Government funded Provision of Eye Health Equipment and Training (PEHET) project. The PEHET project is delivered by consortium of five organisations co-led by BHVI and Australian College of Optometry (ACO).

The presentation will detail:

  • Pathway of establishing eye health into services – A short video
  • Detection of undiagnosed conditions, patient stories
  • Benefits include staff up skill, patient education and monitoring
  • Networking and ongoing key support

Community lead eye care - 2020 and beyond

Anne-Marie Banfield, Dr Genevieve Napper, VACCHO

Community leadership is an essential factor to enable elimination of avoidable vision loss in Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.  This presentation will discuss progress in Indigenous lead policy and practice in eye care.  Leadership occurs from the primary care/community level through innovative and holistic practice, effective partnerships with all members of the eye care team, ACCHO leadership of regional stakeholder groups.  ACCHO staff have interlinked relationships with community, and are part of community, community is broader than ACCHOs with many people choosing to access mainstream services.  Community leadership works through a range of mechanisms to guide and lead regional, state and national groups.  Aboriginal reference groups and community consultations are essential to ensure community needs drive policy and service system development. Challenges include ensuring community voice continues to be heard, increasingly drives and leads change and policy.  Workforce education and development requires ongoing support and work to increase the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in eye care including primary care workers, nurses, ophthalmologists and optometrists.  The presentation will provide an opportunity for discussion and integration of work in community leadership.