CareFlight Launches In-Language Program to Improve Communication for First Nations Communities

CareFlight, the leading aeromedical service provider in the Top End of the Northern Territory, has partnered with Viva Energy Australia to develop in-language communication tools to improve healthcare services for First Nations peoples.

The Viva Energy Australia & CareFlight In-Language Program is a significant step forward in patient care and cultural inclusivity, utilising oral and pictorially driven communications on tablet or iPads to ensure that patients fully understand their rights, expectations, and responsibilities, while also providing them with the opportunity to offer valuable feedback, compliments, or complaints whilst onboard.

“At CareFlight, we believe in breaking down barriers and saving lives,” says Jodie Mills, General Manager Northern Operations. “We recognise the importance of culturally safe clinical care, where effective communication can be a matter of life and death. Through the Viva Energy & CareFlight In-Language Program, we are committed to bridging the language barriers that often hinder the delivery of quality healthcare to First Nations Peoples.”

“This partnership initiative enables our clinicians to better treat our patients with dignity and respect, gather information and important feedback on our service delivery and encourage participation and collaboration, where appropriate.”

Amanda Quinn, CareFlight’s Nursing Director, says the In-Language videos are a vital part of what we do here in the Top End for our vulnerable patient demographic.

“In-language videos enable us to be able to connect further with our patients despite language barriers. The program allows us to collect meaningful feedback and provide important messages around their rights and responsibilities as patients on our aircraft.  Feedback is key, and it is how we improve and reflect on our practices, and this allows us to gain this in a culturally appropriate way.  These in-language messages will empower our patients to feel safe, supported and cared for during their most vulnerable time.”

With an estimated 90% of CareFlight’s Top End patient demographic comprising First Nations people, this initiative is poised to make a profound impact on the delivery of healthcare services to these communities. This program is crafted to ensure that First Nations patients fully understand their healthcare rights, expectations, and responsibilities, while also providing them with the opportunity to offer valuable feedback, compliments, or complaints. Together, we are providing a Charter of Patient Rights that is accessible and culturally appropriate for our First Nations Peoples.

Feedback from the community helps CareFlight improve its service. It is about actively working with people who use the healthcare system to ensure that care is safe, high quality, and meets patients’ needs.

Justine Williams, Community Relationship Manager at CareFlight, describes the initiative as “an exemplary step towards reconciliation and equality, addressing one of the five dimensions of reconciliation: understanding First Nations people’s rights and responsibilities.”

The video resources developed through this program employ nine different First Nations languages, ensuring accessibility and comprehension for individuals whose first language may not be English.

The innovative resources developed through this program are designed to be accessible both online and offline, catering to situations where internet connectivity may be limited, such as during transit.

The Viva Energy & CareFlight In-Language Program enhances patient empowerment and engagement and fosters greater understanding and respect for First Nations cultures and languages within the healthcare system.

“We are proud to support CareFlight in this groundbreaking endeavour,” said Jo Powell, Community Engagement Manager, Viva Energy. “By supporting initiatives that prioritise cultural inclusivity and patient empowerment, we are not only enhancing access to community services, but we are also able to foster a more equitable and respectful healthcare system for all Australians.”

In-Language Patient Rights and Survey Demonstration Video