Understanding lived experiences of Aboriginal people with type 2 diabetes living in remote Kimberley communities: diabetes, it don’t come and go, it stays!

This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of Kimberley Aboriginal people with type 2 diabetes managed by remote Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services using phenomenological analysis.

Semi-structured interviews formulated by Aboriginal Health Workers, researchers and other clinicians were used to obtain qualitative data from 13 adult Aboriginal patients with type 2 diabetes managed in two remote communities in the Kimberley. Together with expert opinion from local Aboriginal Health Workers and clinicians, the information was used to develop strategies to improve diabetes management. Of 915 regular adult patients in the two communities, 27% had type 2 diabetes; 83% with glycated haemoglobin A >10%.

Key qualitative themes included: the need for culturally relevant education and pictorial resources; importance of continuous therapeutic relationships with healthcare staff; lifestyle management advice that takes into account local and cultural factors; and the involvement of Aboriginal community members and families in support roles. Recommendations to improve diabetes management in the remote communities have been made collaboratively with community input.

This study provides a framework for culturally relevant recommendations to assist patients with diabetes, for collaborative research, and for communication among patients, Aboriginal Health Workers, community members, researchers and other clinicians. Interventions based on recommendations from this study will be the focus of further collaborative research.

Thank you to the patients who took the time to tell us their story, and the community councils, elders and members involved in this study, as well as KAMS for their support.

Publication:
Sarah Straw, Erica Spry, Louie Yanawana, Vaughan Matsumoto, Denetta Cox, Erica Cox, Sally Singleton, Naomi Houston, Lydia Scott, Julia V. Marley. Understanding lived experiences of Aboriginal people with type 2 diabetes living in remote Kimberley communities: diabetes, it don’t come and go, it stays! Australian Journal of Primary Health 2019.

Download:
Download the plain language report for patients (167 KB .pdf)

Download the plain language report for staff (182 KB .pdf)