Home' Southern Health News : Southern Health News - April 2015 Contents FMC Midwife Phyllis
Colvin (left) with Lily,
17 months, and mum
awareness to the
BY JANE TREMBATH
A cultural awareness camp in
the Flinders Rangers has helped
Flinders Medical Centre (FMC)
midwives provide better care
to Aboriginal women during
pregnancy and birth.
Over the past four years more than 20 of
the hospital’s midwives have spent time at
Iga Warta – an Aboriginal training program
designed for health care providers.
Southern Midwifery Group Practice Clinical
Services Coordinator Julie Pratt gained
a greater understanding of the needs of
Aboriginal women during pregnancy and
birth after attending the camp in 2011.
She said many aspects of antenatal and
postnatal care had been adapted to
provide high-quality care for Aboriginal
women who chose to birth through FMC’s
Midwifery Group Practice model of care.
“One of the things which we talked about a
lot during the camp was the importance of
family and how that can relate to the birth,”
“Generally only one person – a partner
and maybe another support person, is
allowed to be with a woman when she
“However we learned that in Indigenous
communities there are a whole range of
people who are important and Aboriginal
women often require more people to be
present, including a couple of their aunties,
so we support that in our Midwifery Group
Practice model and have bigger rooms to
As part of the three day cultural awareness
program, midwives visited traditional birth
and sacred sites and also learned about
cultural processes which are important to
“We really focus on providing individual
and personalised antenatal care so we
arrange for one midwife to be with the
Aboriginal women through their whole
pregnancy,” Julie said.
“The clinic locations and times are also
really flexible, or if the women are more
comfortable we can actually visit them in
“We also recognise that being so family
focused, women often want a shorter
hospital stay so they can get home to
their own families and environment,
so we support them by having our
practice midwives visit a couple of
times a week for up to six weeks.”
Aboriginal woman Paula Bongiorno
opted for the Midwifery Group Practice
model of care when she had 17-month-
old daughter Lily in October 2013 and
was cared for by midwife Phyllis Colvin.
“The opportunity to have one midwife
through my whole pregnancy and birth
really appealed to me,” Paula said.
“Phyllis would come to my home for
some appointments after hours to make
it easier for me so I didn’t have to travel,
and my husband could also be there.”
Paula said while she chose not to have her
extended family present at the birth the
care she received was respectful of her
“It was really good that Phyllis came and
met my parents and brother who came
over from interstate before the birth – that
was really important to my mum and it was
important for me that they were involved,”
“By the time it came to the birth Phyllis
wasn’t a stranger, she was a friend.”
The journey of life
BY JACQUIE VAN SANTEN
The long-running Kaurna Arts Project is an
integral element of the concept of reconciliation
and healing at Flinders Medical Centre (FMC).
At the project’s centrepiece is Tappa Purruna ‘The Journey
of Life’ (pictured above) – created by South Australian
artists Karl Winda Telfer (Kaurna) and Gavin Malone.
Located in trees near the main entrance of the hospital,
the underlying theme of the sculpture is symbolic of the
cycle of birth, life and death. The work consists of two
complementary components, Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi
‘The Dancing Spirits’ and Purru Waiendi ‘The Flow of Life’.
Yitpi Tukkutya Parrundaiendi ‘The Dancing Spirits’ is a
sculptural feature celebrating life, the eternal spirit and
nurturance. Two abstract figures, one male and one
female, dance around a Kuri dance stick. Around the base
is a spiral stone pattern, incorporating symbolic ochres.
This connects with a stone flow pattern rising from the
nearby creek and meandering to the building, providing a
connection between the land, the people and the hospital.
Purru Waiendi ‘The Flow of Life’ begins in the land, a
limestone construction rising from and going into the
ground, serving also as seating to contemplate Yitpi
Tukkutya Parrundaiendi ‘The Dancing Spirits’.
"The Kaurna Arts Project has been designed to connect
with all people on a spiritual level, acknowledging that
good health is broader than simply the physical," Karl said.
"It provides a focus for Indigenous patients, who may find
hospitalisation particularly traumatic, and it significantly
enhances the built environment in a meaningful and
culturally appropriate way."
The artwork provides a highly visible, permanent arts
presence at the entrance to Flinders Medical Centre.
"It's an artwork that honours the Kaurna people and
represents the hospital's ongoing commitment to promoting
the healing value of living arts in daily life," he said.
Arts in Health at FMC Manager Sally Francis said in
addition to acknowledging the traditional owners of the
land, the artwork benefited the entire FMC community, by
providing a retreat for all patients, staff and visitors.
Sally said FMC had made a firm commitment both
to reconciliation and the concept of Arts in Health
as being integral to the way in which the hospital
community promotes healing and well-being.
For more information, please contact Arts in Health
at FMC on 8204 3096 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTHERN HEALTH NEWS / APRIL 2015 / 7
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