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"Hiding the story": Indigenous consumer concerns about communication related to chronic disease in one remote region of Australia

Lowell, Anne, Maypilama, Elaine, Yikaniwuy, Stephanie, Rrapa, Elizabeth, Williams, Robyn L. and Dunn, Sandra V. (2012). "Hiding the story": Indigenous consumer concerns about communication related to chronic disease in one remote region of Australia. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology,14(3):200-208.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 82794376xPUB29
Title "Hiding the story": Indigenous consumer concerns about communication related to chronic disease in one remote region of Australia
Author Lowell, Anne
Maypilama, Elaine
Yikaniwuy, Stephanie
Rrapa, Elizabeth
Williams, Robyn L.
Dunn, Sandra V.
Journal Name International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Publication Date 2012
Year Available 2012
Volume Number 14
Issue Number 3
ISSN 1754-9507   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84860753691
Start Page 200
End Page 208
Total Pages 9
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher Informa Healthcare
Field of Research 1117 - Public Health and Health Services
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract This paper reports on a collaborative qualitative study which explored education and communication practice related to chronic disease from the perspectives of Aboriginal people in a remote region of the Northern Territory, Australia, where the prevalence of chronic disease is extremely high. Most Yolngu (Aboriginal people of Northeast Arnhem Land) do not speak English as their first language and few health staff share the language and cultural background of their clients. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Yolngu community members and health staff in their preferred language in small groups or individually, in an approach that was flexible and responsive to the concerns and priorities of Yolngu researchers and participants. As well, health education interactions were videotaped to facilitate more in-depth understanding of the strengths and challenges in communication (one video can be viewed at An iterative and collaborative process of analysis, interpretation, and verification revealed that communication and education related to chronic disease is highly ineffective, restricting the extent to which Yolngu can make informed decisions in managing their health. Yolngu participants consistently stated that they wanted a detailed and direct explanation about causes and management of chronic disease from health staff, and rarely believed this had been provided, sometimes assuming that information about their health is deliberately withheld. These serious limitations in communication and education have extensive negative consequences for individuals, their families, and health services. These findings also have broader relevance to all areas of healthcare, including allied health services, which share similar challenges in achieving effective communication. Without addressing the profound and pervasive inadequacies in communication, other interventions designed to close the gap in Indigenous health are unlikely to succeed.
Keywords Cross-cultural
Workforce issues
DOI   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Additional Notes Postprint 28 pages

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