Indigenous Australian perspectives on incorporating the social determinants of health into the clinical management of type 2 diabetes

Frier, Amanda, Devine, Sue, McBain-Rigg, Kristin E., Barnett, Fiona A., Cassady, Zara A., Dunning, Trisha, and Reese, Robyn L. (2021) Indigenous Australian perspectives on incorporating the social determinants of health into the clinical management of type 2 diabetes. Rural and Remote Health, 21 (2). 6352.

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Introduction: Type 2 diabetes mellitus and social disadvantage are related. In Australia, this association is most pronounced among Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples). Indigenous Australians are among the most socially disadvantaged in the country, having the worst social determinants of health (SDoH). SDoH are typically addressed at a population level, and not on an individual or a clinical level. However, the SDoH-related needs of individuals also require attention. The adverse link between type 2 diabetes and SDoH suggests that simultaneous consideration at an individual, clinical level may be beneficial for type 2 diabetes care and self-management. Identifying and addressing SDoH-related barriers to type 2 diabetes self-management may augment current care for Indigenous Australians. This study aimed to combine the perspectives of Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetes and Indigenous health workers to explore the SDoH-related barriers and facilitators to self-managing type 2 diabetes, and how SDoH could be incorporated into the usual clinical care for Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Under the guidance of a cultural advisor and Indigenous health workers, seven Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetes and seven Indigenous health workers from rural and remote north Queensland, Australia, participated in a series of semi-structured, in-depth face-to-face interviews and yarning circles. A clinical yarning approach to data collection was used, and both an inductive and a deductive data analysis were applied. Data were analysed, and themes were identified using NVivo v12.

Results: Study participants described a holistic view of health that innately includes SDoH. Specific to type 2 diabetes care, participants identified that culturally responsive service delivery, suitable transport provision, an infinite flexible approach to accommodate for individuals’ unique social circumstances, appropriate client education and appropriate cultural education for health professionals, support mechanisms and community support services were all essential components. These were not seen as separate entities, but as interrelated, and all were required in order to incorporate SDoH into care for Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetes.

Conclusion: SDoH are implicit to the Indigenous Australian holistic view of health. Consequently, an approach to type 2 diabetes care that complements this view by simultaneously considering SDoH and usual type 2 diabetes clinical management could lead to enhanced type 2 diabetes care and self-management for Indigenous Australians.

Item ID: 67814
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-6354
Keywords: Aboriginal, Australia, health workers, Indigenous Australians, social determinants of health, Torres Strait Islander, type 2 diabetes.
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Copyright Information: © James Cook University. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2021 01:58
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420606 Social determinants of health @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200105 Treatment of human diseases and conditions @ 50%
21 INDIGENOUS > 2103 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander determinants of health @ 50%
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