Helping our rural and remote patients feel a bit warmer this winter

Photograph of Ursula Swan with a quilt
Ursula Swan with one of the quilts.
June 8, 2018

A recent collaboration between East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) Community and Population Health and the Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) Respiratory Medicine Department investigated ways to improve patients’ health and wellbeing as well as how to provide cultural security while they are away from home.

EMHS Community and Population Health have sought community partners for the donation of blankets and Moort Care are now engaging volunteers to crochet, knit or sew blankets or quilts.

Finished blankets are labelled with the service collaboration information outlining the partnerships and the relevant corporate logos for EMHS, Moort Care and RPH.

Community and Population Health Senior Project Officer Ursula Swan said “Aboriginal patients attending RPH from rural and remote areas of WA find the climate in Perth and in the hospital wards a lot colder than what they are used to.”

“Aboriginal patients attending the Respiratory Medicine Ward to undergo rigorous lung function tests or altitude simulation tests (required for flying back to country) complain about how cold it is in the testing areas when wearing the required hospital gown,” said Ursula.

“To ensure patients feel comfortable when participating in the lung function tests and to achieve effective results, it was determined that supplying blankets or quilts would alleviate this and would also promote cultural security as well as open communication channels between the patient and RPH clinical staff.”

“As some Aboriginal patients have English as a second language and are unable to communicate effectively, the process of presenting patients with a blanket on the wards aims to help break down the communication barriers.”

Quilts have also been donated to the maternity units at Bentley and Armadale hospital.