Apunipima Cape York Health Council is trialling a new model of care in its Napranum clinic near Weipa, focusing on a holistic approach to health care which encompasses the social determinants of health and wellbeing.

The Coordinated Case Care trial will work with five families and focus on social aspects of community life, from food security and fitness right through to home life, employment and financial health.

The trial is based on successful overseas ‘social prescribing’ trials, which focus on a full holistic assessment of individual and family need. The healthcare approach looks at a patient’s non-medical needs as well as their physical health to improve individual and family wellbeing.

Apunipima CEO Ms Debra Malthouse said the more social service providers work together, the greater benefit in health outcomes for community members.

“Health is not just about our physical wellbeing, we know that social, emotional and cultural factors impact on our health and wellbeing as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Malthouse said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled health organisations understand this but we need to be better at working collaboratively with other care providers so that individuals and families have access to health care and support services that appropriately respond to their needs.

“When you expand the care provider group to include any service that deals with the social aspects of community life, such as Council, employment agencies and justice groups, it brings many more voices to the table, and this trial is about engaging with and bringing those services into the health conversation.”

Participants will undergo a social determinants assessment at the start of the trial to create a plan for them to follow.

Throughout the trial, an Aboriginal Health Worker will be the case manager working directly with individuals and families in the trial to support them to achieve the goals they identified in their plans.

Community Connect worker with Weipa Community Care Association Shaylee Gomes is involved in the trial and excited to learn of the results.

“Everything that we’re trying to do here involves looking at the situation holistically, so I think coming together and networking as a community while engaging around the whole family unit is the best possible way to use the limited resources we have available,” she said.