New treatment space opens at Ipswich Hospital
A NEW clinical space has opened up at Ipswich Hospital but it's no ordinary consultation room.
This space was built using three tonnes of sandstone and granite rocks and ironbark timber.
It's part of a collaborative project to better meet the needs of the indigenous community.
Statistically, indigenous West Moreton residents have a shorter life expectancy than non-indigenous patients and this new clinical space, known as a yarning circle, is designed to reduce that number.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service officially opened the new clinical space at a special ceremony last week.
The new Yarning Circle, built outside the hospital's East St entrance, will provide a culturally safe and appropriate meeting space for patients and their families.
The materials that make up the circle were hand picked by elders who explored WMHHS project manager Justin Bowman property to find the right materials to build the circle.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service Board Chair Michael Willis said the opening of the space was a significant moment for the health service.
"The Yarning Circle is symbolic of the working partnership between West Moreton and the Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders but, importantly, it represents our response to the challenge to deliver better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," Mr Willis said.
"In West Moreton, the life expectancy of Indigenous residents is 19 years less than that of non-Indigenous residents.
"This is unacceptable and something West Moreton is determined to change.
"The Yarning Circle is recognition that a one-size-fits-all model of care will not deliver the best outcomes for all community members.
"A successful health service needs to be nimble enough to respond to change and be willing to tailor our approach to best meet the health needs of the West Moreton community.
"We know that sometimes the extended family responsibilities of Indigenous patients, a lack of trust in institutions or a lack of connection to the area means that some people do not feel able or comfortable to remain in hospital for the full duration of their treatment.
"Together we have built a culturally safe and appropriate place where Indigenous patients and their families can meet with Elders or Indigenous health liaison officers to comfortably discuss any concerns and help make a decision that will lead to better health outcomes.''
Traditional Owner and Ugarapul Elder Uncle Ross Anderson said the Yarning Circle would provide a place for elders to sit and talk and share their wisdom and knowledge with patients and their families.
"It will be a place of emotional, spiritual and social healing and by connecting with others, we hope Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients will find comfort at a time when they are away from their families and homes," Uncle Ross said.
"Anyone should feel welcome to come to the Yarning Circle - it's for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but it's also for the people of Ipswich and the world."
WMHHS Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman said it was a special privilege to work in partnership with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders for the benefit of the community.
"We celebrate the cultural diversity of the West Moreton community and want to work with community leaders to make sure we do everything we can to deliver care in a culturally appropriate and safe way.
"We hope this Yarning Circle will make it easier for people to connect and to chat freely with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders to help support people as they recover."
The Yarning Circle was a collaboration between West Moreton Hospital and Health Service and Traditional Owners and Indigenous Elders, supported by Ipswich City Council and the Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network.