When you see clients all day and every day, it can be hard to stop and reflect on whether your organisation is actually meeting the needs of your priority populations. Just knowing if the organisation’s client profile matches who you want to reach can be a good first step to meeting these needs. Our teams in Darwin – the Children’s Development Team (CDT) and the Community Allied Health Team (CAHT) – decided to put together a profile of our service users.
We used data entered by allied health clinicians and administration staff into the client management system – the Community Care Information System (CCIS) database. To our surprise, this data has never been analysed to provide a demographic profile of the client population.
With some technical help we got de-identified data of clients over five years (2015 to 2020). The information described the provider team, Indigenous status, birth country, locality of residence, sex, age, preferred language and referral reason. Where we could we compared the data to census data.
Half (51 per cent) of CDT cases were made up of young children (0–4-years). Boys made up nearly two-thirds of CDT cases across all service areas and represented just over half of CAHT cases. Compared to the Northern Territory population, Indigenous cases were over-represented in every service area in CAHT and were over-represented in CDT in the Darwin and Palmerston areas. This was particularly interesting to learn and helps us focus on providing a culturally safe service. The preferred language for CDT and CAHT cases was English, with other languages preferred in relatively small percentages. Three-quarters of the CAHT cases contained information about preferred language. Of these, 25.9 per cent preferred to speak an Aboriginal language.
We think this information helps service planning and resource allocation for clinicians and managers. The results will help as a resource for familiarising new staff with the client population. We might even be able to use the data for future grant applications.
The data presented is a good summary of CDT and CAHT service users over a five-year period. It is the first time such information has been compiled into a user-friendly format. It should help the organisation focus on the needs of its priority populations.
A copy of the report can be found at www.flinders.edu.au/content/dam/documents/research/flinders-nt/flinders-nt-research-reports-caht-health-service-user-profile-sept2021.pdf