'We get so task orientated at times that we forget the people': staff communication experiences when caring for Aboriginal cardiac patients
Australian Health Review
Objective The aim of this study was to describe the experiences of communication for staff providing cardiac care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in hospital and discuss potential improvements.Methods Focus group discussions were performed with 58 multidisciplinary staff who provide care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiac patients in two metropolitan and two regional hospitals in South Australia and Northern Territory. Inductive thematic analysis was undertaken
... to identify staff perceptions of communication challenges and strategies for improvement.Results There were five key themes: (1) communication is central to good care; (2) communication within busy clinical environments; (3) supporting a strong Aboriginal workforce; (4) a cultural as well as clinical focus; and (5) particular challenges working with patients from remote areas.Conclusions Providing effective communication that is both clinically and culturally appropriate is often challenging within a busy and non-adaptive hospital environment. Moving beyond clinical tasks, increased Aboriginal and Torres Strat Islander health workforce and cultural competency, supporting coordinated care and improved skills are required to meet the communication needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients.What is known about this topic? Communication between patients, their families and hospital staff is crucial for health care quality and safety. There is little understanding of the challenges and opportunities for staff to meet the communication needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiac patients to address disparities in acute care settings.What does this paper add? This paper discusses the barriers and potential improvements, as identified by hospital staff providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cardiac patients in both metropolitan and regional settings.What are the implications for practitioners? Practitioners should be trained and supported in providing both clinically and culturally safe care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. This requires adequate time, two-way communication and resources to support and facilitate effective communication.