Ms Alexandra Hogan2, Ms Jaimee Dutton1, Mrs Leah Curran3, Ms Jane Warburton4
1Top End Health Service, Tiwi, Australia, 2Office Of Disability – Top End Remote, Department of Health, Casuarina, Australia, 3Top End Health Service, Tiwi, Australia, 4Office Of Disability – Top End Remote, Department of Health, Casuarina, Australia
Eating and drinking is an essential part of people’s lives. It is underpinned by social and cultural norms that not only shape how we view ourselves but also how we relate to others and engage in certain roles in society. In Indigenous culture, eating and drinking are engrained in traditional practices around hunting and ceremony. Difficulty with eating and drinking, referred to as dysphagia, is a complex concept regardless of a person’s health literacy levels. The abstract terms used to explain the concept of dysphagia are not easily translated or understood by people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
The aim of this study is to develop a culturally and linguistically responsive dysphagia resource for use across the continuum of care within the Top End Indigenous population. A participatory action research approach will be utilised to engage patients and key stakeholders in the resource development. This resource will support patient understanding of dysphagia and in turn facilitate engagement with health services and informed decision making regarding dysphagia management options. Potential future implications of this study are development of an Indigenous dysphagia goal setting tool and patient centred outcome measures.
Alexandra Hogan is Speech Pathologist at the Royal Darwin Hospital who works in a generalist role but has a special interest in Head and Neck cancer.
Jaimee Dutton is Speech Pathologist for the Office of Disability Top End Remote Team who works as a remote generalists.
The Royal Darwin Hospital and the Office of Disability teams provide speech pathology services across the lifespan for Indigenous clients from across the Top End. The teams work closely to link hospital and community services for remote clients to ensure quality and continuity of care.