WA hotline tunes patients into their communities

(L-R) – Rachel Humphries, South Metropolitan Health Service community member, and Nola Naylor, Director of Aboriginal Health Strategy.

A radio request show hopes to help Indigenous hospital patients in Western Australia stay connected to their communities.

Noongar Radio in WA and the state’s South Metropolitan Health Service have launched Hospital Hotline, a patient request program aimed at keeping family, friends and community connected to patients in hospital.

The hotline was launched at the Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth this month.

Nola Naylor, the director of Aboriginal Health Strategy with the South Metropolitan Health Service, said formal communication pathways that connected Aboriginal patients to family and country were often limited.

“Hospital Hotline will close the communication gap and keep patients connected to their loved ones and community,” she said.

“We have many Aboriginal patients here at Fiona Stanley Hospital (and) for our patients coming from remote regional areas, hospital can be a daunting experience.

“This initiative will help ease some of the anxiety and cultural disconnect that our Aboriginal patients experience.”

The Reverend Sealin Garlett, who did the welcome to country at the launch, said hospitals could be lonely places

“To have Hospital Hotline standing and walking beside us during the midst of our hospital journey is not only good for our spirits, it’s a source of our cultural identity,” he said.

Hospital Hotline host Mechelle Turvey, who was in hospital recently, said: “It’s really important to remain high-spirited. Not being on country is a huge thing — we’re away from what we know, what we love and our connections.”

Fiona Stanley Hospital is the first WA hospital to implement the initiative, which will be rolled out around the state.

By Wendy Caccetta

  • Requests can be sent to Noongar Radio by SMS to 0448 821 186. Hospital Hotline airs on Noongar Radio (100.9FM)  every Tuesday morning from 10-11am.

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