Improving access to refugee-focused health services for people from refugee-like backgrounds in south-eastern Melbourne through the education sector

Katrina M. Long, Shiva Vasi, Susannah Westbury, Sandy Shergill, Chloé Guilbert-Savary, Ashley Whitelaw, I. Hao Cheng, Grant Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

People from refugee-like backgrounds living in Australia face substantial health challenges that benefit from access to health and social services. Many people from refugee-like backgrounds have frequent contact with education sector staff, who have the potential to act as conduits to health and social services. The aim of this project was to improve access to refugee-focused health services for people from refugee-like backgrounds in south-eastern Melbourne by codesigning and delivering a 1-day education forum to education sector staff. Evaluation of the forum used mixed-methods analysis of data from pre-post and follow-up surveys (n = 11; administered before, immediately after and 1 month after the forum respectively), post-forum interviews (n = 4) and one school's referral records. The forum improved attendees' refugee-focused health service referral knowledge, confidence and behaviour. This was supported by the qualitative findings of high staff motivation, high forum satisfaction and evidence of outcome sustainability. Education staff are an important complement to an integrated model of health care for recently resettled people from refugee-like backgrounds. These results show that a straightforward local intervention can improve the ability of education staff to act as conduits to health services, increasing access to health services for people from refugee-like backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • community health networks
  • health services accessibility
  • health services needs and demands
  • minority health
  • primary health care

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