The Optimal Care Pathway (OCP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is a new addition to the suite of tumour specific OCPs. The purpose of this OCP and each corresponding consumer guide is to describe and facilitate the delivery of culturally safe care. The OCP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was developed collaboratively by Cancer Australia, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services and Cancer Council Victoria.
A multidisciplinary expert group agreed the content for the clinical OCP. This was followed by national public consultation for seven weeks. Two corresponding consumer resources were focus tested with community members in four states and territories. Testing of these resources, Checking for cancer – what to expect if you or someone you know might have cancer, and Cancer – what to expect, was conducted by The Cultural and Indigenous Research Centre Australia (CIRCA). CIRCA utilised a focus group approach to seeking consumer views on the cultural relevance, format and message of the draft resources. The groups also explored knowledge and attitudes about cancer and information seeking behaviour.
CIRCA conducted seven focus groups with 33 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women. Key findings from the focus groups suggested that the cultural appropriateness of the resources could be strengthened by using: fewer words; more images representing greater diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups; and illustrations with bright colours.
The OCP for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer guides the delivery of culturally safe cancer care. Providing resources that are culturally appropriate and use accessible formats is vital to ensuring that cancer information prepared specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is culturally safe and supportive. Understanding the information needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is essential in informing this process.