Improving Care for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Patients program
The Improving Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients (ICAP) program was established in 2004 in recognition that Aboriginal Victorians experience poorer health and lower life expectancy than the general community. Many Aboriginal people are reluctant to attend hospitals and, when they do, may have more acute and complex health issues. In addition, under-identification of Aboriginal patients continues to hamper policy and service development based on service access and health needs.
ICAP builds upon the Aboriginal hospital liaison officer (AHLO) program that supports Aboriginal patients within hospitals. ICAP is underpinned by a 30% loading on health service funding for Aboriginal inpatients.
The Aboriginal Health Branch manages the ICAP program from the Department of Health's central office. The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) supports AHLOs in their roles and assists relationship development with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
Aims and key result areas
To demonstrate the provision of quality care for Aboriginal patients, health services are required to report progress against four key result areas (KRAs) in their annual quality of care reports.
Further information about the ICAP KRAs and objectives is available in the ICAP guidelines.
Continuous quality improvement tool: Aboriginal health in acute health services and area mental health services
The Continuous quality improvement tool: Aboriginal health in acute health services and area mental health services (CQI tool) supports Victorian health services to provide culturally responsive healthcare to Aboriginal Victorians.
The CQI tool provides a process to:
- reflect on progress and achievements in providing culturally responsive healthcare to Aboriginal patients
- identify gaps in organisational and clinical practice
- identify priorities for actions to improve the delivery and outcomes of healthcare, through organisation-wide initiatives and programs to Aboriginal patients across the organisation
- ensure greater systemic effort and accountability for a whole-of-health-service CQI approach to healthcare and health outcomes for Aboriginal patients.
Completing the CQI tool is a reporting requirement for all health services with WIES funding and all area mental health services. The tool should be completed and submitted to the department by 30 November 2013.
Hospitals are also encouraged to adopt a quality improvement approach to their ICAP program and may wish to draw on the online Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patient Quality Improvement Toolkit for Hospital Staff developed by the Improving the Culture of Hospitals Project.
A developmental review of the ICAP and Koori Mental Health Liaison Officer (KMHLO) programs was completed in June 2011. The KMHLO program aims to improve access to culturally appropriate mental health services for Aboriginal people.
The Department of Health is working closely with health services to support the progression of their ICAP and KMHLO programs in line with the review and in consultation with ACCHOs.
The final report from the review is available on request from the Aboriginal Health Branch on (03) 9096 8614
For further information and tools to assist health services to implement their ICAP programs, visit the publications page.