Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers to Reduce Indigenous Infant Mortality: Application of Nursing Led Research Through Health and Community Collaboration

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jeanine Young, PhD, BSc, (Hons),  RGN
Nursing Research Unit AND Research Centre for Clinical and Community Practice Innovation, Children's Health Services AND Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
Leanne Craigie, BS
Clinincal Skills Development Centre, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Australia
Niall Higgins, RN, MSc
Queensland Health, Clinical Skills Development Centre, Brisbane, Australia

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the modifiable risk factors that place Indigenous Australian babies at a higher risk of sudden unexpected infant death.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will have access to an evidence-based culturally appropriate eLearning program designed to increase capacity of Indigenous workforce in supporting their communities.

Purpose: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants currently die suddenly and unexpectedly at 6.8 times the rate of non-Indigenous infants. Previous nursing led research has demonstrated a) suboptimal infant care practices that contribute to these deaths; b) the effectiveness of an Safe Infant Sleeping eLearning program in significantly improving knowledge and application of safe sleeping recommendations by health professionals; c) the need for a specific eLearning program for Indigenous Health Workers from focus group feedback. A culturally appropriate eLearning program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers about sudden unexpected death in infancy and safe sleeping recommendations was developed.

Methods: An Indigenous Project Officer was employed to adapt original safe sleeping e-learning content and lead consultation with Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander networks, supported by Queensland Health Clinical Skills Development Service and Children’s Health Services Nursing Research Unit. The four-module program has an in-built evaluation to benchmark prior knowledge, and post-module quizzes to complete following each module.

Results: Content development is complete; the program will go live in January 2012 for the second consultation and feedback round with participating IHWs. The Safe Sleeping program on which this Indigenous eLearning program is based achieved significantly higher participant scores posttest [pretest 71% Vs post-test average 87%,p<0.001]. Indigenous eLearning participant scores will be calculated and available for presentation in July 2012. Practical demonstration of this interactive program structure and content will be provided.

Conclusion: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families continue to be under exposed to public health messages. This eLearning program seeks to increase capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to confidently role model safe sleeping practices in their communities. Collaborative networks and new methodologies need to be developed to educate parents about preventable risks associated with sudden infant death. Reducing infant death is everyone’s business.