CALHN supporting return to country hub in Adelaide’s west parklands

CALHN Aboriginal Health nurse consultant Nick is a busy man. He’s been working with the Department of Human Services to provide support to more than one hundred Aboriginal people to safely return to their communities.

A temporary hub run by the Department of Human Services in G.S Kingston Park/Wirrarninthi (Park 23) opened in January this year to support Aboriginal people from remote communities who were struggling in the medi-hotel system.

It was modelled on the Puti on Kaurna Yerta hub which was in the south parklands in October and November last year.

“We identified [Park 23] as a suitable place to have a hub because of its proximity to the hospital, city, and community and welfare agencies,” Nick said.

“The isolation hub ran for two and half weeks with 60 people accommodated here with primary care support from our COVID care centre,” Nick said.

The site has recently converted to a return to country hub, helping Aboriginal people safely return to their communities.

“After a couple of weeks, we realised there were probably hundreds of people that hadn’t returned to country and who would benefit from support to get home,” Nick said.

“We consulted with the community and said maybe the isolation hub would be better placed as a return to country hub.”

To support Aboriginal people to return to country Nick and the team at Park 23 have been on hand to make it easier for the community to access the COVID tests required by the APY lands and West Coast lands. Both lands require a negative RAT on the day of leaving and a recent negative PCR test.

In the past few weeks, the hub has helped 175 Aboriginal people return to country.

Nick said despite the long hours, the work has been incredibly rewarding.

“The most rewarding bit is right at the end of the day when people get on the bus. As soon as the bus rocks up, everyone’s very excited to get on,” Nick said.

“Seeing particularly the women and kids get on the bus, settling down for a long journey but very excited to be going home.”

SA Pathology has assisted the site with fast tracking PCR results while the Wayville vaccination team were able to vaccinate 40 people on site.

Thanks to Nick, his colleagues for demonstrating CALHN’s values of people first, and community minded in delivering this important service for the Aboriginal community.

This collaboration with DHS with the support of the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation and the APY Lands executive board, has delivered meaningful impact for the community.

The Adelaide City Council has granted the government a licence agreement for the use of the site until March 18.