Enhancing inclusion in the healthcare system for people with disabilities

Hospital staff are building their disability awareness.


ONE year into the ‘Enhancing Inclusion in the Healthcare System’ initiative, a three-year project to improve the hospital experience and health outcomes of people with disability, the partnering organisations, Blue Sky Community Services and The Mid North Coast Local Health District, are reporting positive progress.

Sarah Mongan, Disability Healthcare Specialist at Blue Sky Community Services in Coffs Harbour, told News of the Area, “It is such an exciting opportunity to work within the health system, to explore how ways of doing things can be made more inclusive and supportive for people with disability and their carers.

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“Sam (Stanford) and I are really enjoying working alongside Health staff, to support them to build confidence in working with patients with disability, and their carers, in a more collaborative and positive way.

“We’ve assisted staff to build on their existing disability awareness, develop a deeper understanding of the NDIS, and develop basic sign language skills, to name just a few examples of the work we’ve been doing.

“Our role is supporting Health staff to build capacity to then support patients with disability better, reducing the chances of delayed discharge and/or unplanned re-admission.”

The goal of the ‘Enhancing Inclusion in the Healthcare System’ project is to ensure that when people with disabilities go into hospital and are managing their health, they feel supported, informed, and able to articulate their unique needs.

Over three years the project aims to develop a best practice model for enhancing inclusion of people with disability in the mainstream health system in NSW, by strengthening the skills of health staff in supporting people with disability and improving coordination between health and local NDIS providers.

It includes a training program for health care staff, based on best practice principles, to build their capacity to communicate with, and provide high-quality care to people with disability.

It will develop systems that support efficient communication between health staff and local NDIS providers to improve the overall hospital experience and health outcomes of people with disability.

The project is funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) under an ‘Information, Linkages and Capacity Building’ grant.




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