Understanding an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child’s journey through paediatric care in Western Australia

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Abstract

Objective: To explore caregiver perspectives of their children’s journey through the specialist paediatric service, the Aboriginal Ambulatory Care Coordination Program (AACC), and non-AACC services at the Perth Children’s Hospital. Methods: Eighteen semi-structured interviews with families of Aboriginal children were completed. Indigenous research methodology and a phenomenological approach guided data collection and analysis. Results: Four key themes were identified from interviews: hospital admissions, discharge and follow-up outpatient appointments; communication; financial burden; and cultural issues. Our findings suggest Aboriginal children and their caregivers using the AACC program had more positive and culturally secure experiences than those using non-AACC services. However, barriers relating to health providers’ understanding of Aboriginal cultural issues and lived experience were commonly discussed, regardless of which service families received. Conclusions: Australian Aboriginal children have an increased use of tertiary hospital care compared to non-Indigenous children. Healthcare programs specifically designed for Aboriginal children and their families can improve their experience of care in hospital. However, improvements in cultural awareness for other hospital staff is still needed. Implications for public health: Dedicated Aboriginal programs in mainstream services can successfully improve cultural care to their clients, which is fundamental to improving service delivery for families.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

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