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    Galiya Mabudyan! (Life is good!)

    Category: Rural, remote and very remote

    Southern Cross Care (WA) Inc.
    Germanus Kent House, Broome, WA

    Galiya Mabudyan is a pastoral care approach implemented in this remote location to meet the needs of Aboriginal residents.  Most of the residents are Aboriginal, with more than 50% having lived on remote Aboriginal communities prior to entering the service.

    Some of the Germanus Kent House residents have come from family groups that had ‘first contact’ in the late 1960s.

    Meeting the pastoral needs of Aboriginal community members is very difficult because of the complexity of difference between the communities themselves. An approach was needed that meets the pastoral needs of residents within the strictures of aged care funding and the regulatory environment.

    The approach that has been developed is called Galiya Mabudyan, "Life is good".

    The change began after feedback was received about the care of a resident’s family members who had travelled to see a resident. Reflection on this feedback drove a change in practice and a greater sensitivity to the socio/cultural needs of clients.

    A series of focus groups were subsequently held with residents, translators, Aboriginal liaison officers, family members and Aboriginal staff.  Among the outcomes was a collective approach to memory, relationships and story telling.

    A fortnightly Pastoral/palliative care meeting is now held, involving nursing/lifestyle/facility chaplain/management representatives. Residents who are socially isolated or facing challenges from life events are reviewed in a holistic manner and strategies developed.

    A collective approach is taken to memory and life Waraja Ngarlu. The collective identity that binds people together is of foremost importance for a clear or healthy liaan (the spiritual and visceral core of a person) and those who have become dislocated from family and Buru – whose liaan is cloudy or poorly - suffer most.

    What the team at Germanus Kent House have discovered is that Waraja Ngarlu (the collective liaan of the group) can to some extent be replicated by simple group activities.

    There is a strong focus on Country Buru, with fire, smells and with the personal and familial memory and cultural identity associated with these tactile experiences. Buru promotes recollection, reaffirms identity and assists in the organic creation of a new reservoir of group and individual memories. 

    A pastoral care in an indigenous context leadership development program for senior Care staff was developed by the Human Resources Officer in collaboration with staff from the School of Nursing and Midwifery Notre Dame University, the home’s and the home’s palliative care nurse.

    All activities are documented and evaluated. Surveys are conducted throughout the year. The results are interpreted and action plans are cultivated to identify areas of weakness. Monthly Lifestyle meetings are held to review and reflect upon the current activity program and to inspire innovation amongst the team to strive to deliver the best possible quality of life we can within the restrictions of a highly regulated and institutionalised industry.

    The home is well supported by community donations that have assisted in beautifying sections of the site for activities – for example a fire pit, and the donation of many plants. Community members also donate their time to play music or to play games or do crafts with residents.

    The outcomes of the project are positive and appear reproducable for aboriginal and non-aboriginal residents alike.

    For more information on the program, contact Lisa Anderson, email: or phone: (08) 9194 0777.

    About Southern Cross Care (WA) Inc.

    Since 1966, Southern Cross Care (WA) Inc. has been committed to helping almost 3000 Western Australians across our State access a choice of quality care services in their own homes or at one of our 17 retirement villages and residential aged care facilities.  With around 1000 staff and 250 volunteers, the organisation is a significant employer in the ageing and health care community in Western Australia.