Dislocation and Dialysis in Aboriginal Patients with Renal Failure

L.E. Burnette, Marion Kickett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Australian Aborigines are eight times more likely to develop end-stage renal failure when compared to the general Australian population. (Cass, 200La) Published qualitative research exploring Aboriginal experiences with renal failure is limited. A narrated ethnography approach was undertaken to determine the lived experience of Aboriginal people undergoing treatment for renal failure. Six Aboriginal participants undergoing treatment for end stage renal failure were interviewed. Interview topics included the onset of symptoms, seeking of health care, diagnosis of renal failure, commencement of dialysis, and the ongoing experience of dialysis from a personal perspective. The data was transcribed and coded, and emerging themes confirmed by experienced researchers, one of whom is an Aboriginal person. The study provided insight into the experience of dislocation for Aboriginal people seeking treatment for their renal failure. Dislocation included relocation, inability to access dialysis at home, missing family, dislocation of culture and the value of kinship. This paper discusses the dislocation reported by the participants, noting that the challenges relating to renal replacement therapy for Aboriginal people is an accumulation of the predicament faced by any renal dialysis patient, closely augmented with the culturally specific difficulties of overcoming dislocation. It is hoped this research study forms the basis of further enquiry into exploring the nature of the experience of kidney disease for Aboriginal people from an individual and community perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10 - 13
JournalAboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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