Health-e-screen 4 Kids

A novel ear screening service for children in a rural Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Health workers from Cherbourg Community Health Service visit schools throughout the district. They provide free ear health checks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and some non-indigenous children for childhood related health issues and problems (e.g. otitis media).

If your child does not pass the screening test, your child may need to see a doctor, a specialist or another health professional. You will be notified of the results of your child's ear health check and any recommendations for further treatment if required. If your child does need to see a doctor, we will help to organise this for you.

What is it?

An ear screening van routinely visits schools in Cherbourg and surrounding communities. The van is used by health workers to conduct ear health checks for your child. The health workers also provide your child with health information and education on how to take better care of their health.

The information collected in the ear health check will be stored in a secure database and specialists in Brisbane will be able to look at this information to diagnose and prescribe treatment. The health worker may suggest you make an appointment for your child to see a local doctor or they may organise for your child to attend an ear clinic when the specialist visits Cherbourg. The health worker may follow up with you and your child at a later date regarding the problem.

Where? When? How long?

The van will visit your child's school. While at the school the health worker will perform the ear health checks. The ear health checks take less than 15 minutes

Why do we want to do this?

We want to try and find the best way to make sure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are healthy, strong and smart. We would like to support and try to reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with ear diseases in Cherbourg and in the surrounding South Burnett district.

We would like to investigate the best way to screen children using the van and accessing specialist in Brisbane using the Internet and telehealth. If this approach is successful, similar vans can be used in other communities in Queensland. If we can get answers to these research questions, we can plan ways to prevent chronic disease and reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people getting sick.

What are the ear health checks?

Your child will come to the screen van. The health worker will take pictures of your child's ears (otoscopy) and perform hearing tests (audiometry and tympanometry).

Risks?

There is no foreseeable risk in your child attending this screen van.

What will your child get out of this?

The trained health workers will take a look at your child, do some simple test, and say if there is a problem or not. Any abnormalities or problems detected in the areas examined will follow a treatment plan.

You will receive a copy of the result and be advised if your child needs to see a doctor, either at the hospital or when the specialist visits. This way, we may be able to help your child improve their current health and prevent future poor health. This will improve the health of your child and may benefit other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in rural and remote communities in Queensland.

If something goes wrong?

The Health workers are trained in emergency procedures. Parents will be contacted as soon as possible of any issues that may arise.

What are your options?

  1. You can agree to participate and help understand how to improve in your child's health.
  2. You can decline to participate in the screen program

At any time you can withdraw consent for your child from taking part in the screening or decline to respond to any questions with the knowledge that your actions will not influence your child's medical care now and not in the future.

How will we look after the information Health-e-Screen 4 Kids collected?

All of the information collected is kept on a secure database. The information collected will be shared with

  • the school, classroom teachers and advisory support teachers
  • Queensland Health (Cherbourg Community Health Service, Cherbourg Hospital, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ear Health Program - Deadly Ears, Queensland Health Outreach Clinics, Children's Health Queensland and other Queensland Health Services)
  • Australian Hearing Service, and
  • University of Queensland.

The information will be used for clinical purposes. If you ever want to view your child's information, you can contact the health workers at Cherbourg Community Health Service. The information may also be used for research purposes. No research publications about this work will not include personal identification of individuals involved in the study. This study adheres to the AIATSIS "Guidelines for Ethical Research in Indigenous Studies"

Health-e-Screen 4 Kids Team

  • Cecil Brown
    Cherbourg Community Health Service,
    Advanced Health Worker
  • Elizabeth Jacobs
    Cherbourg Community Health Service,
    Advanced Health Worker
  • Dr Anthony Smith
    The University of Queensland, Centre for Online Health,
    Associate Professor
  • Dr Liam Caffery
    The University of Queensland, Centre for Online Health,
    Senior Research Fellow

Contact details for further questions

If you require further information please contact Cecil Brown at Cherbourg Community Health Service, Barambah Avenue, Cherbourg (4169 8900) or Dr Liam Caffery at UQ in Brisbane, (07 3176 7704)

This study has been cleared in accordance with the ethical review guidelines and processes of the University of Queensland. You are free to discuss your child's participation in this study with project staff 3176 1685 (Brisbane) or 4169 8900 (Cherbourg). If you would like to speak to an officer of the University not involved in the study, you may contact the UQ School Ethics Officer on 3365 3924.