‘Vital resource’ to help GPs treat Stolen Generations

Matt Woodley

5/12/2019 1:53:37 PM

A new factsheet will help doctors deliver healthcare that acknowledges the impacts of trauma to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The ‘Working with the Stolen Generations: Understanding trauma’ factsheet is tailored specifically for GPs.

Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt launched the factsheet and a suite of other resources aimed at assisting healthcare professionals at Parliament House.
Tailored specifically for GPs, the Working with the Stolen Generations: Understanding trauma factsheet was developed by the Healing Foundation in collaboration with Stolen Generations survivors and peak bodies such as the RACGP.
Ahead of the launch, Healing Foundation Chair Professor Steve Larkin said interacting with aged care staff, GPs, dentists and other services is often difficult for Stolen Generations survivors.
‘Many Stolen Generations survivors experienced childhood trauma as a result of their forced removal from family, community, culture and language, and sometimes also as a result of abuse and racism experienced after their removal,’ he said.
‘Every day events can trigger the original trauma, particularly if a situation brings back the lack of control Stolen Generations survivors experienced when they were taken from their families.’
The resources provide practical tips on how staff and management can improve services to Stolen Generations survivors.
Associate Professor Peter O’Mara, Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, said the factsheet is a vital resource for GPs.
‘General practice is often the first and only point of contact with the healthcare system for many patients. The RACGP has a strong interest in ensuring that general practice services and healthcare in general are safe and responsive to people who experienced the devastating impacts of forced removal,’ he said.
‘This new resource provides essential context and useful tools to assist GPs to identify and understand the impacts of trauma for their patients. These are principles of good clinical practice, which is beneficial for all patients.’
Geoff Cooper, Stolen Generations survivor and member of the Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Group, said he hopes the factsheet will create greater awareness about the best ways to provide services to this patient population without triggering trauma. 
‘Little changes can make a big difference to how we feel when we walk in to a service,’ he said. ‘Things like not making us talk about bad stuff that’s happened to us if we don’t want to and explaining what you’re going to do before you do it so we aren’t caught off guard.’
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare analysis conducted as part of the Action Plan for Healing project found there are currently more than 17,000 Stolen Generations survivors in Australia.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health Stolen Generations trauma

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