DHHS Health Advocacy Project

Health Advocacy Project

Funded by the Victorian Advocacy Futures Grant, Department of Health and Human Services (now known as Department of Families, Fairness and Housing).

Project Background

The project seeks to explore new models of accessing mainstream health system for Victorians who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The project is governed by a Steering Committee, consisting of a representative from each organisation including Deaf Victoria, which meets every two months. 

For research and data collection, we work closely with Expression Australia and Aspex Consulting. One of the major competent of this project is the Literature Review, which will include findings and recommendations based on literature from all over Australia and the world. A final version of this will be made available soon.

We want deaf and hard of hearing Victorians involved in this project by giving them an opportunity to share their experiences through an online survey and community focus groups. 

The online survey will run from Monday 2nd November to Monday 30th November 2020. 

If you would like to share your experiences in Auslan rather than doing the survey in English, you can contact us at info@deafvictoria.org.au to book a 1:1 session or to express your interest in participating in a focus group. 

The 1:1 sessions will be with Catherine Dunn, Individual Advocacy Officer on Thursdays and Fridays during November. The community forums will be held on Thursday 12th, 19th and 26th November 2020 which will be facilitated by Paula Thornton and Catherine Dunn. If you would prefer to do a 1:1 session with a hearing person (Ange Lin from Expression Australia) and an interpreter, this can be arranged. 

We also plan on creating a training package for healthcare staff. This will allow them to become more culturally competent in terms of providing care for deaf and hard of hearing people in the health system. 

This project will wrap up in early 2021. 

For more information about this project, please contact Sherrie Beaver, Project Coordinator at projects@deafvictoria.org.au

  1. Consult with the deaf and hard of hearing community in Victoria about their experiences in the health system;
  2. Develop an advocacy toolkit for deaf and hard of hearing people to support their navigation of the health system; 
  3. Develop cultural competency training for staff in the health system.

Project Approach and Outputs

In consultation with Deaf Victoria and the Advisory Committee, Aspex Consulting was engaged to: 

  • Conduct desktop review of current legislation, access models and relevant information related to deaf and hard of hearing people and their access to healthcare. 
  • Oversee the community survey, focus groups and interviews, and collate the results and create a visual resource to highlight key findings. 
  • Create a final report which brings together all relevant legislative and policy components together with current state analysis and future recommendations. 

Research Findings

The key findings from the community survey are represented in the infographic created by Aspex Consulting. 

The community survey was distributed and collated in 2020 and had a total of 124 respondents and it found that: 

  • 45% indicated they do not receive sufficient information to self-manage their health. 
  • 95% identified an interest in learning more about health care. 
  • 43% were confident to request access support. 
  • 20% received access support in a timely manner. 
  • 25% indicated that services met their cultural needs. 
  • 75% would have liked advocacy support. 
  • 41% felt confident providing feedback. 

Identification of improved access to health information and communication support for the Deaf community includes: 

  • Greater promotion of Deaf patient rights. 
  • Improving the health literacy of the Deaf community. 
  • Providing accessible health information and resources to the Deaf community with clear responsibility for equitable services. 
  • Providing tools and supports to make communication easier for Deaf people when attending a medical appointment, including the provision of certified interpreters and accessible information. 
  • Providing more onsite and video remote interpreter access ensuring all Deaf patients in need of an interpreter have access to one. 
  • Ensuring feedback and complaints processes are accessible to the Deaf community. 
  • Ensuring health service staff are culturally competent. 
  • Ensuring Deaf patients are provided with clear information and assistance to enable informed decision making and consent.  

Literature Review

Literature Review of current situation, relevant legislation and policies and service delivery models.

Aspex Review

Final Report including the case for change and how improvements can be made.

Cultural Competency Training

If your hospital would like to undertake the cultural competency training, please get in touch with us at info@deafvictoria.org.au or contact us HERE.

Project Partners:​