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Title: Barriers to effective perioperative communication in indigenous Australians: an audit of progress since 1996.
Authors: Cheng, W Y C
Blum, P
Spain, B
Affiliation: Department of Anaesthesia, Royal Darwin Hospital, Darwin, Northern Territory..
Issue Date: Aug-2004
Citation: Anaesthesia and intensive care 2004-08; 32(4): 542-7
Abstract: This prospective study was designed to elucidate barriers limiting effective perioperative communication between indigenous Australians and anaesthetists, and to identify strategies for improving communication. A questionnaire was used to collect data on 1040 consecutive patients undergoing anaesthesia at Royal Darwin Hospital between February and March 2003. 27.1% of these patients described themselves as Aboriginal. Aboriginal patients were more likely to undergo emergency surgery and were more likely to be classified as ASA 3, 4 or 5 than non-indigenous patients. Communication difficulties were identified in 28.7% of all Aboriginal patients, which was 31 times higher than those in non-Aboriginal patients. The most common reason identified for this was difficulty in speaking English. Only 17.7% of Aboriginal patients presenting to the operating theatre spoke English as their first language. Unfortunately, the anaesthetic team utilized the Aboriginal interpreter service in only a minority of cases. Communication difficulty in indigenous Australians is pervasive and often goes unrecognized. The results suggest that heath care providers may need staff training in cross-cultural communication and that protocols need to be developed within the health care system so that interpreters are called upon automatically early in the admission process.
ISSN: 0310-057X
Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Adolescent
Child, Preschool
Emergency Medical Services
Interviews as Topic
Middle Aged
Northern Territory
Surveys and Questionnaires
Communication Barriers
Oceanic Ancestry Group
Physician-Patient Relations
Preoperative Care
Appears in Collections:NT Health digital library

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