Relocation for specialist treatment for Indigenous people: Escort Issues
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To date, although there is some literature on the experience of relocation, there are no research papers that focus exclusively on the Indigenous relocation experience. As a first step to address this hiatus, the present article provides findings from an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council two year study on Indigenous palliative care conducted in the Northern Territory that focus on escort issues. The methodology was qualitative, based on open-ended interviews, audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, thematically analysed. There were a total of seventy-two (n=72) interviews completed with Indigenous patients (n=10), Indigenous caregivers (n=19), Indigenous and non-Indigenous health care workers (n=41), and Interpreters (n=2). The findings indicate that relocation for special treatment is a process fraught with difficulties and challenges for Australian Aboriginal people. Many of these problems such as loneliness, the emotional distress of separation from family, financial distress and the practical problems associated with travel and accommodation resonate with previous research on the tribulations of relocation. However, in addition to these issues, the findings indicate that there are many other specific problems associated with Aboriginal culture that negatively impact on the relocation experience. In view of the quite serious problems associated with relocation for Aboriginal people, there are strong indications from the findings that relocation for Indigenous people should not only be carried out in a culturally appropriate way, but, should be avoided whenever possible.
Journal of Rural and Tropical Public Health
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Medical and Health Sciences