Perspectives of Aboriginal People Affected by Cancer on the Need for an Aboriginal Navigator in Cancer Treatment and Support: A Qualitative Study

Rosalie D. Thackrah, Lenelle P. Papertalk, Karen Taylor, Emma V. Taylor, Heath Greville, Leanne G. Pilkington, Sandra C. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians suffer higher rates of cancer and poorer outcomes than the wider population. These disparities are exacerbated by rurality and remoteness due to reduced access and limited engagement with health services. This study explored the cancer journeys of Aboriginal patients and carers, and their views on the establishment of an Aboriginal Patient Navigator role within the Western Australian healthcare system to support cancer patients and their families. Sixteen Aboriginal participants were interviewed either face to face, by telephone, or via video conferencing platforms. The interviews were then recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed using standard qualitative techniques. Close consultation within the research team enhanced the rigour and robustness of the study findings. Patients and carers identified many gaps in cancer service delivery that made their experiences stressful and unnecessarily complex. Challenges included a lack of stable accommodation, financial burdens, constant travel, being "off-Country", and miscommunication with health professionals. Key sources of support and strength were the centrality of family and ongoing cultural connectedness. All participants were supportive of an Aboriginal Patient Navigator role that could address shortfalls in cancer service delivery, especially for patients from rural and remote communities. A culturally safe model of support has the potential to increase access, reduce anxiety and improve health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
Number of pages13
JournalHealthcare
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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