Monday, April 27, 2015
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Otitis Media

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Otitis Media Program

The Murrumbidgee Medicare Local (MML) Otitis Media (OM) Project was an 18 month project supporting general practice to deliver otitis media prevention, education and treatment in accordance with the recently updated Recommendations for Clinical Care Guidelines (the Guidelines) on the management of otitis media in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander populations with the overall goal of improving early detection management and overall outcomes. The project worked in partnership with otitis media health service providers, linking existing programs with children and their carer's in the community.

The Otitis Media project has provided the MML with resources and support to develop the capacity of health service providers to deliver a more effective service to Aboriginal Children. This includes the development, knowledge and skills related to the prevention and management of Otitis Media in Aboriginal Children, and promoting the awareness of relevant service providers and referral pathways for OM.

Mainstream General Practices, RivMED Wagga Wagga and Griffith Aboriginal Medical Service (GAMS) participated in the OM project, with excellent engagement from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) Aboriginal Health Workers. The success of these partnerships can be largely attributed to;

  • The inclusive project management framework including planning and implementation phases;
  • Relationship develpment between the OM Project Officer and Providers;
  • Integration of activity within the MML Closing the Gap (CtG) team;
  • Consultation with and support provided to service providers regarding the project deliverables, in particular education.


What the Otitis Media program has achieved?

1. Project Management

Critical to the success of the project was establishing meaningful and active engagement of all key stakeholders in the project development, implementation and management. The MML established an Otitis Media Project Steering Committee with key stakeholders including GPs, general practice and AMS representatives, Aboriginal Service Providers and community representatives to oversee the implementation of the Otitis Media Project.

2. GP Champion and CPD Events

The MML was successful in recruiting a GP with an interest and passion for Aboriginal Health in the role of GP Champion. This GP was the facilitator for the "Train the Trainer" CPD events for the Updated "Recommendations for Clinical Care Guidelines on the Management of the Otitis Media in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations". Four multidisciplinary CPD events were held across the MML region.

3. General Practice Engagement

An Expression of Interest (EOI) process resulted in the recruitment of six general practices to the Otitis Media Project, including two Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation's (ACCHOs).
Each practice has indentified a significant improvement in their practice from early detection, treatment and management of OM during the pilot project. An increase of 53 ATSI children aged 0-4 years have been screened for OM during this 18 month pilot project.
Each general practice had an identified primary health care nurse for the OM project. Funding and time for this position has driven this project within the ACCHO's and general practices. One practice reviewed their (OM) children at their fortnightly clinical multidiscipline meetings. Five of the six general practice primary health care nurses and one Aboriginal Health Worker (AHW) attended the evaluation session in Wagga Wagga with Elizabeth MacDonald (National Evaluator) on June 4th 2013.

4. Active engagement of other stakeholders

The project identified relevant pre-schools and day-care centres in communities with higher Aboriginal populations including Wagga Wagga, Leeton & Griffith. The project officer developed strong and effective relationships with staff and visited monthly with an MML CtG staff member. At these site meetings education was delivered to staff on the importance of hearing screening, signs and symptoms of Otitis Media and the relevance of early detection. Resources were distributed to all staff and made available to parents, and as a result, some communities have developed networks to implement programs such as "crunchy fruit" and "hand hygiene" into their daily routine.

5. Locally tailored education to meet identified need

Health provider consultation identified the need for access to Otitis Media skills-based education to develop and deliver competency based education to Aboriginal health service providers locally. MML approached "The Benchmarque Group" (registered training organisation) to discuss the development of cultural appropriate training for ear screening. The Benchmarque Group have been successful in developing an accredited cultural appropriate education program to meet these needs. The pilot program was held in Griffith October 2013, with sixteen attendees.

6. Raising awareness of Otitis Media amound service providers and community members

A number of activities have occurred across the MML to promote awareness of Otitis Media among health service providers. Staff within the MML distributed resource kits and a local media advertising campaign, was developed utilising TV, radio & newspaper adds.


How can the Otitis Media program help you?

The Community

  • Provide information via our website;
  • Provide posters brochures and other resources for waiting rooms

Health Professionals

  • Provide information via our website
  • Providing up-to-date Otitis Media resources and information 
  • Support to enable "best practice" in Otitis Media management


Erin Wright
P: 0269 536454
Practice Support Manager