Indigenous heart health

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A Heart Research Centre First!  

Funding to improve secondary prevention programs for Aboriginal people with cardiovascular disease.

The Heart Research Centre was recently awarded grants from the ANZ Trustees and Grosvenor Foundation to work with Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) in Victoria to improve community participation in cardiac rehabilitation and secondary prevention services. 

Cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, is recognised as the leading cause of death and disability for all Australians.  Aboriginal people are almost three times more likely to die from CHD than non-Aboriginal people.  Cardiac rehabilitation is a well known treatment that enables people to live an active and fulfilling life and prevent further cardiac events (heart attack or heart surgery).  While the World Health Organisation recommends that all patients with CHD should participate in cardiac rehabilitation, only 2% of eligible Aboriginal people attend a cardiac rehabilitation program. Typically cardiac rehabilitation is delivered in mainstream hospitals and centres.  Numerous barriers have been identified by Aboriginal people to accessing such services.

A number of successful interstate models have improved participation rates by their local Aboriginal communities.  The first phase of this project will investigate and document these successful models and explore ways of introducing them in Victoria. The process for documenting a model of care involves examining:

  • referral pathways in and out of the service
  • funding sources including business cases utilising Medicare items
  • staffing
  • partnerships
  • interfaces with other services
  • resource utilisation including information management, resources and equipment
  • communication lines
  • culturally appropriate evaluation

The second phase of the project will provide support for two ACCHOs to plan and implement a locally adapted secondary prevention model of care that will best meet the needs of the Aboriginal community.  This project will be run over 12 months.

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