Palliative care spotlight - introducing Senior Aboriginal Health Worker Lara Acevedo

GettyImages 498340586

Lara Acevedo is a Palliative Care Aboriginal Health Worker who specialises in providing culturally appropriate services to the Aboriginal community.

Hello (Yiradhu marang) my name is Lara Acevedo I have recently commenced in the role of Senior Aboriginal Health Worker with the Palliative Care service in the Shoalhaven.

I am a proud Wiradjuri woman with bloodlines on my mother’s side, whose country is Mudgee. I have lived In Wollongong off country for the majority of my life and now reside in Nowra. 

I have extensive experience working with aged, chronic care and disability services and also have a background in community health, project management, workplace training, health promotion and nursing. I am also a UOW student in the final stages of a Social Work degree.

My focus is providing culturally appropriate services to the Aboriginal community, providing support to palliative care patients, carers and their families. As such, my role also involves supporting general practice to provide culturally safe and appropriate care, including improving care coordination general practice, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) Specialist Palliative Care service and primary health nurses, local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS), and other community-based services.

What does this look like for patients, families, and communities?

  • Ensure patients and their families have a clear understanding of the role of palliative and end of life care, its services and supports, and treatment options.
  • Liaise with service providers and clinicians to assist with care planning.
  • Promote Advanced Care Planning and development of Advanced Care Directives.
  • Support access to specialist services across all care settings.
  • Assist with referrals to services.
  • Follow up on support during admission in an inpatient facility.
  • Attend home visits and support appointments at the request of a patient or family.
  • Drive referrals to internal bereavement service and supportive resources that are culturally specific.
  • Provide consultative support to clinicians re: culturally appropriate end of life care.
  • Support in-reach to hospitals and residential aged care facilities/group homes.

What does this look like for general practice, ACCHS, and other services?

  • Establish links and relationships with general practice, primary care clinicians, and other services.
  • Provide education to promote awareness of cultural beliefs and needs.
  • Establish clear and effective referral pathways.
  • Provide support with early identification and at-risk patients.
  • Increase shared care planning and communication among primary care and specialist clinicians.
  • Support services to identify needs and gaps in service delivery, and develop initiatives to meet those needs and close gaps.
  • Drive referrals to internal bereavement service and supportive resources that are culturally specific.
  • Provide consultative support to clinicians re: culturally appropriate end of life care.
  • Support in-reach to hospitals and residential aged care facilities/group homes.
I hope to be able to support your service with palliative and end of life service delivery to Aboriginal patients, families, and communities throughout the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. I can be contacted via email at lara.acevedo@health.nsw.gov.au or mobile number 0439 443 387.