Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Med J Aust. 2002 May 20;176(10):466-70.

Sharing the true stories: improving communication between Aboriginal patients and healthcare workers.

Author information

  • 1Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health, Menzies School of Health Research, PO Box 41096, Casuarina, NT 081. alancass@menzies.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To identify factors limiting the effectiveness of communication between Aboriginal patients with end-stage renal disease and healthcare workers, and to identify strategies for improving communication.

DESIGN:

Qualitative study, gathering data through (a) videotaped interactions between patients and staff, and (b) in-depth interviews with all participants, in their first language, about their perceptions of the interaction, their interpretation of the video record and their broader experience with intercultural communication.

SETTING:

A satellite dialysis unit in suburban Darwin, Northern Territory. The interactions occurred between March and July 2001.

PARTICIPANTS:

Aboriginal patients from the Yolngu language group of north-east Arnhem Land and their medical, nursing and allied professional carers.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Factors influencing the quality of communication.

RESULTS:

A shared understanding of key concepts was rarely achieved. Miscommunication often went unrecognised. Sources of miscommunication included lack of patient control over the language, timing, content and circumstances of interactions; differing modes of discourse; dominance of biomedical knowledge and marginalisation of Yolngu knowledge; absence of opportunities and resources to construct a body of shared understanding; cultural and linguistic distance; lack of staff training in intercultural communication; and lack of involvement of trained interpreters.

CONCLUSIONS:

Miscommunication is pervasive. Trained interpreters provide only a partial solution. Fundamental change is required for Aboriginal patients to have significant input into the management of their illness. Educational resources are needed to facilitate a shared understanding, not only of renal physiology, disease and treatment, but also of the cultural, social and economic dimensions of the illness experience of Aboriginal people.

PMID:
12065009
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Australasian Medical Publishing Company
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk