We won't find what we don't look for: Identifying barriers and enablers of chronic wet cough in Aboriginal children

Pamela Laird, Roz Walker, Mary Lane, Anne B. Chang, Andre Schultz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objective Chronic lung disease is prevalent among Australian Aboriginal children. Chronic wet cough is an early marker of disease but often goes undetected. Currently, no studies have examined health practitioner knowledge of chronic wet cough. We set out to examine health practitioner knowledge of chronic wet cough and chronic lung disease in Aboriginal children and to identify barriers and enablers to effective management. Method A qualitative study, gathering data through individual semi-structured, in-depth interviews and focus groups to ascertain health practitioner knowledge about management of Aboriginal children with chronic wet cough in a regional Kimberley town and remote community. Results Thirty-seven health practitioners participated. Key barriers identified were: (i) limited training in assessment and management of chronic wet cough; (ii) prioritization of acute presentations and competing complex chronic conditions; and (iii) normalization of cough in children by health practitioners. Key enablers were: (i) improving practitioners' knowledge and expertise in managing chronic wet cough; and (ii) health system changes to facilitate longitudinal patient care, improved cultural competence, improved chronic disease management and post-hospitalization follow-up. Conclusion Key barriers to effective management of chronic wet cough are limited training in chronic wet cough management combined with competing complexities of both acute and chronic healthcare needs for Aboriginal families. Early detection and management of chronic wet cough in Aboriginal children can be facilitated through health practitioner training, access to standardized management guidelines and a service model that allows longitudinal patient follow-up and resources to effectively prevent and manage chronic lung disease in children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
Early online date25 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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