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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015
7 Health promotion and prevention Incorporate public and preventative health approaches into existing operating principles to reduce the risk factors associated with childhood diseases and illnesses, including middle ear disease. Implement stronger infection control and hygiene practices and processes to effectively respond to outbreaks of communicable diseases. Service delivery reforms and improvements Ensure operating standards include the identification and management of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss as a priority health condition in geographical areas with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, including establishing referral processes with local healthcare providers. Implement effective practice approaches and modifications to support children with developmental impacts from middle ear disease and associated hearing loss. Trial, test and introduce new teaching practices and modifications/adjustments to enhance the listening, language, learning and play skills of children. Adopt cost-effective options to upgrade, refurbish and modify existing facilities to improve the listening (acoustic) design environment to meet national standards. Training and workforce development Provide workforce training and professional development opportunities for early childhood education and care providers to identify and manage the impacts of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss on childhood development. Some of the signs and symptoms of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss to look for include: • signs of a cold (coughing, sore throat, runny nose) • pain in ear • runny fluid or pus from ear • not eating • children pulling ears • fever • children can't hear properly • diarrhoea or vomiting. If any of these signs and symptoms are present in children, educators need to talk to parents and/or carers about taking their child to see a health professional for an ear and hearing check. In some cases, children exhibit no obvious signs and symptoms apart from mild to moderate hearing loss, which can be difficult to detect. The national Care for Kids' Ears website contains a raft of information and resources for early childhood providers and teachers about middle ear disease and associated hearing loss: http://www. careforkidsears.health.gov.au/internet/cfke/publishing.nsf In addition to identifying the signs and symptoms of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss in children, ECEC providers can introduce a number of system-level and service delivery improvements to prevent and manage the impacts of middle ear disease and associated hearing loss. This is especially relevant for ECEC providers with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as it is estimated that in some locations between 40 to 50% of children can be suffering the effects of the disease at any point in time. These system-level and service delivery improvements can be grouped under three main areas related to preventing the disease, strengthening and reforming existing service delivery models and providing support and training to educators. Further information about middle ear disease, associated hearing loss and developmental impacts can also be found at the Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service Deadly Ears program website: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/deadly_ears/ REFLECTIONS • GOWRIE AUSTRALIA • SPRING 2015 - ISSUE 60 Examples of system and service delivery improvements in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector:
Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015
Reflections Issue 61, 2015