I am
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

The Lighthouse Hospital Project: The story so far

The project aims to reduce inequalities in healthcare, with a focus on cardiac care and patient outcomes.

Key takeaways

  • The Lighthouse Hospital Project began in 2012 and was piloted in eight hospitals, before expanding in 2017 
  • The Lighthouse Toolkit helps hospitals provide culturally appropriate and clinically competent care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families during and beyond their hospital experience 
  • This program contributes to reducing inequalities in cardiac care and patient outcomes for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. 
6 min read

Key initiatives to improve heart health  

Beginning in 2012, the Lighthouse Hospital Project identified a toolkit that enables hospitals to provide exemplary care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. The project aims to reduce inequalities in healthcare, with a focus on cardiac care and patient outcomes. The key initiatives included:
  • Expand and optimise the Aboriginal health workforce in participating hospitals 
  • Improve identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients 
  • Engage in effective partnerships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities 
  • Fostering of champions on clinical staff 
  • The commitment to delivering patient-centred care, and 
  • Using newer technologies to improve communication.  

The Lighthouse Toolkit  

The Lighthouse Toolkit was piloted with eight hospitals from 2014 to 2016. Each hospital in the program received The Lighthouse Toolkit, which included a plan, action areas and quality improvements. The toolkit outlines ways hospitals can provide culturally appropriate and clinically competent care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families, both during and beyond their time in hospital.    

Expansion of the project (2017 to 2019) 

In 2017, the Australian Government Department of Health provided $7.98 million to support the expansion of the project to 18 hospitals (i.e. phase three).  

Phase three enabled the project to reach nearly half of all cardiac admissions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples [1].  

The toolkit guided hospitals to implement significant quality improvement activities. Hospitals worked to develop a culturally safe and clinically appropriate hospital experience for their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. 

Each hospital worked with local partner organisations, including Aboriginal Medical Services, community health service providers and the community to improve care coordination. 

Testimonials from Lighthouse hospitals  

"Community engagement and consultation for us to work together to ensure we make a real and permanent difference occurs when only relationships are strengthened, and our stories are written and shared. Phase 3 of the Lighthouse Project has been a strong step forward to writing new stories and making a real change to the way we design care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Work must continue to ensure that the many successful initiatives from Phase 3 are streamlined, shared and embedded into healthcare frameworks nationally to actively continue to close the health gap." 
CEO, regional health service 

“From an executive member point of view, being part of this project gives me the opportunity to promote improvements from other hospitals across our hospital. A lot of the techniques used in the Lighthouse Project for ACS will in fact be transferable to other conditions as we go forward, So, partnering in this is a fantastic opportunity to address chronic disease issues in our Aboriginal people.” 
Executive sponsor, metropolitan hospital 

“It has been great to be involved. It has been really good for the organisation. It has certainly given us momentum around things that would have taken a lot longer or not happened for who knows how long. I really do think that it has made differences, tangible differences, and I do think there are things that will measurably improve.” 
Project team member, metro hospital 

“You know, this toolkit has the opportunity to change disease management for Aboriginal people. It just needs to be scaled up. It’s incredible, and it works.” 
Project team member, regional hospital 

You might also be interested in

What is FoodTrack?

What is FoodTrack?

What is FoodTrack?

FoodTrack supports the collection and monitoring of nutrition and product data for foods and beverages in Australian supermarkets. ...

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Heart Health Projects

Projects aimed at improving the heart health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples ...

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Would you like to improve the cardiovascular health of your patients?...

For professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples identification training

For professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples identification training

Asking the Question of Origin course helps with identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, in line with standard practice.  ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Australia, but the burden of disease disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

For Professionals: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples information and resources

Resources for providing best practice cardiovascular care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

We need your opinion, experience and skills to help us improve the heart health of all Australians. ...

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Are you at risk of heart disease? 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Are you at risk of heart disease? 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Are you at risk of heart disease? 

Preventing heart disease starts with knowing your risk factors and making changes to live a healthier life. ...

Blueprint for an active Australia 

Blueprint for an active Australia 

Blueprint for an active Australia 

The Blueprint for an active Australia provides evidence-based actions to help address physical inactivity....

Research Directory

Research Directory

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World

Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World

Driving Best Practice CVD Prevention in a Post-COVID World

National tobacco strategy

National tobacco strategy

Frameworks supporting tobacco control in Australia ...

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Heart failure clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

May 3 – 9, 2021...

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

Australian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance

Alliance with chronic disease prevention stakeholders...

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Your role as a carer for a heart attack patient is an important one – explore some useful things to know....

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Returning to work after a heart attack

Discover how to plan for your return to work....

Heart failure resources for patients

Heart failure resources for patients

Educate your patients on everything they need to know about heart failure and managing their condition ...

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Asian recipes

Find heart healthy Asian recipes....

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

How can I set and achieve goals to improve my heart health?

Question of the month blog...

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

The National Heart Foundation of Australia Position Statement: Coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia.¹...

Tahini tofu dressing

Tahini tofu dressing

Tahini tofu dressing

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Heart Foundation Research Award Recipients

Explore our research award recipients and projects...

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos

Breakfast tacos

5 minutes
Serves 1

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Find heart healthy Italian recipes....

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

Healthy eating to protect your heart

What does a heart-friendly diet look like?...

Heart Bypass Surgery

Heart Bypass Surgery

Coronary bypass surgery is a common procedure that can dramatically improve the health of your heart. ...

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

Healthy Food Access Tasmania

We've been working on several projects with local governments across Tasmania, big and small....

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) clinical resources

Resources and clinical information for health professionals...

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

Quesadillas with avocado and tomato salsa

12 minutes
Serves 6 (as a side)

Prawn and avocado salad

Prawn and avocado salad

20 minutes
Serves 6

Hot oats – (base recipe)

Hot oats – (base recipe)

Hot oats – (base recipe)

10 minutes