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Indigenous Australian patients confused and frustrated by kidney disease
Date:11/10/2008

New Australian research has shown that Indigenous Australians with kidney disease are confused, frustrated and feel poorly informed about their illness.

The study reveals Indigenous Australian's feel inadequately informed and are considerably more uncertain about the cause of their illness compared to non-Indigenous patients with kidney disease. The results of the large qualitative study are published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Researchers from The George Institute for International Health and Menzies School of Health Research conducted interviews with 146 Indigenous and 95 non-Indigenous patients with serious, or end-stage, kidney disease across Australia.

"We found the way Indigenous patients understood their disease was markedly different from the non-Indigenous group," said, Professor Alan Cass, Director of the Renal Division at The George Institute.

"These real-life experiences provide insight into how patients engage with treatment. It is clear that indigenous kidney patients are uncertain about what has caused their condition. Many Indigenous patients feel excluded from information and disempowered, suggesting potent reasons for apparent difficulties adhering to treatment."

Severe or end-stage chronic kidney disease, which necessitates ongoing dialysis or a kidney transplant to keep a person alive, is up to thirty times more common among Indigenous Australians compared to non-Indigenous Australians. This disproportionate share of kidney disease has placed considerable demands on Indigenous families and communities, including the need to attend dialysis usually three times per week, to take multiple medications and follow strict dietary restrictions. These demands are compounded by poor levels of access to kidney transplantation.

The study results showed that many Indigenous patients expressed a desire for more information about their kidney disease. However, researchers also identif
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Contact: Emma Orpilla
eorpilla@george.org.au
029-657-0300
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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