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Developing a model of care to improve the health and well-being for Indigenous people receiving renal dialysis treatment

By Cecelia Preece


The high levels of end-stage renal disease among Indigenous Australians, particularly in remote areas of the country, are a serious public health concern. The magnitude of the problem is reflected in figures from the Australian and New Zealand Transplant and Dialysis Registry that show that Indigenous Australians experience end-stage renal disease at a rate almost 9–10 times higher than other non-Indigenous Australians. A majority of Indigenous Australians have to relocate to receive appropriate renal dialysis treatment. In some Australian states, renal treatment is based on self-care dialysis which allows those Indigenous Australians to be treated back in their community. Evidence clearly shows that reuniting renal patients with community and family improves overall health and well-being for those Indigenous Australians. With the appropriate resources, training, and support, self-care management of renal dialysis treatment is an effective way for Indigenous people with end-stage renal failure to be treated at home. In this context, the study was used to gain insight and further understanding of the impact that end-stage renal disease and renal dialysis treatment has had on the lives of Indigenous community members. The study findings are from 14 individually interviewed people from South East Queensland. Data from the interviews were analysed using a combination of thematic and content analysis. The study methodology was based on qualitative data principles where the Indigenous community members were able to share their experiences and journeys living with end-stage renal disease. Many of the experiences and understanding closely relate to the renal disease pattern and the treatment with other outside influences, such as social, cultural, and environmental influences, all having an equal impact. Each community member’s experience with end-stage renal disease is unique; some manage with family and medical support, while others try to manage independently. From the study, community members who managed their renal dialysis treatment independently were much more aware of their renal health status. The study provides recommendations towards a model of care to improve the health and well-being is based on self-care and self-determination principles

Topics: end-stage renal disease, kidney failure, public health, Indigenous health, self-care management, self-determination, and chronic disease
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2010
OAI identifier:

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