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Menzies School of Health Research
This report evaluates the Otitis media guidelines program, which aimed to enhance the capacity of general practitioners and other primary health care providers to provide high quality treatment for otitis media (OM) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The project was implemented from June 2012, for 12 months within eight sites, located in Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The aims and objectives of the program were to:
- increase awareness of the updated recommendations for clincial care guidelines on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander populations
- improve the uptake of best practice service delivery for the prevention, early detection and management of OM in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander children
- increase diagnosis and appropriate referral of OM in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander children aged 0-4 years.
Key points identified by the evaluation include:
- The needs identified by services to integrate guideline use into their practices varied and it was important that services had the opportunity to identify their own specific needs.
- Flexibility in planning the implementation of programs at the local level was essential and that no one plan would be suitable for all.
- Ongoing practical training in clinical detection and management of OM is needed across the agencies in order to meet the necessary demand and staff turnover issues.
- The success in embedding the recommendations of the guidelines into practice in many services was often the result of leadership from practice management and the motivation, initiative and energy and other personal qualities of the practice nurses (or equivalent) employed by each of the service.
- The collaborative care model is seen as flexible and best able to meet the needs of disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with OM. This model promotes that health service providers from different professions and agencies provide comprehensive services by working with people, their families, care providers, and communities to deliver the highest quality of care.
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