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'Baby Coming You Ready?' - an innovative approach to improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers, infants and families.

4 months ago


A new approach to understanding and treating risk for perinatal depression and anxiety among Aboriginal mothers is critical. The focus on behaviours alone is no longer an option if we are serious about improving outcomes.

‘Baby Coming You Ready?’ A new touchscreen application tailored to support Torres Strait Islander mothers and fathers, to give their babies the best start in life is being trialled in seven sites across North and South PHNs.

It has been designed to improve outcomes with its holistic culturally sensitive approach to strengthening the social and emotional well being for Aboriginal parents.

What is ‘Baby Coming You Ready?’ Baby Coming You Ready?’ (BCYR) is a digitised screening and assessment ‘rubric’ (with associated assets*). Its implementation initiates a jointly developed intervention that is directed and controlled by the parent. BCYR focuses on individual, family and community strengths, actively incorporating these in the parent directed ‘way forward’ or plan.

BCYR embodies a next generation screen, assessment tool which overcomes the significant limitations experienced by practitioners and Aboriginal mothers when using current recommended screening tools for mental health, family violence, alcohol and other drugs and smoking.

(*BCYR assets: A Women’s and a Men’s digitised rubric; BCYR Practitioner Training; BCYR Website; Ages and Stages short films for dads; online referral network to improve access to culturally safe relevant perinatal services and resources that connects to the WA Primary Health Alliance HealthPathways).

BCYR breaks new ground by providing mental health, social and emotional well being, family violence, alcohol and other drugs screening and assessment in a format that directly focuses on strengths and improved outcomes. Through open engagement and self-assessment, it aims to give control of her pregnancy care back to the mother, increase trust and understanding between clinicians and their patients and to guide future care and support for the health and well being of mothers and babies.

A two-year pilot in seven sites across the North and South PHNs commences in May 2019.

How does ‘Baby Coming You Ready?’ work: BCYR is a therapeutic culturally-safe process which engages parent and practitioner on multiple issues important to Aboriginal people. These issues (domains of inquiry) have been identified through previous research (www.alwaysfamily.weebly.com ) and are reiterated in literature.

BCYR uses plain language, Aboriginal voice overs and touch-screen visual prompters on iPads to guide users through these specified domains of inquiry. It encourages open reflection and self-evaluation, fostering understanding for both users. It focuses understanding the contextual factors in parents’ lives and how these impact an assessment of risk. It is designed to promote yarning, foster ‘innocent’ inquiry and cultivate deep listening.

The process guides the practitioner through opportunities for relevant brief interventions and motivational interviewing.

Secure back-end web-based technology is intended to link clinicians' reports with key health-management systems* thus reducing computer-time, enhancing quality client time, ensuring reporting accuracy and automating real-time data collection (Communicare/MMEx/STORK/BOSSnet). Importantly, BCYR is My Health Record friendly and is certified by Australian Digital Health Agency. De-identified data is stored according to ISO standards, is password protected and encrypted and has SSL Certification.

Why ‘Baby Coming You Ready? BCYR has emerged to address the many identified barriers and to incorporate the many enablers to successful social and emotional well being screening for Aboriginal mothers from the perspectives of users (both Aboriginal people and clinicians).

BCYR was developed by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people with researchers and clinicians from the field. It has been developed through the Murdoch University research project Kalyakool Moort (www.alwaysfamily.weebly.com).

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