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From the Northern Territory
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 02:57

Suzanne Harwood and Michelle O'Loughlan (pictured L to R) of the Respiratory Unit, Royal Darwin Hospital, NT, presented their work on  "Addressing the Communication Gaps in Self-Management Education for NT Top End Indigenous People With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Using An Oral Communication Tool." at the Nurses Special Interest Group meeting at the annual scientific meeting of the TSANZ.


The Northern Territory top end is one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world.


As COPD is the fifth leading cause of admissions to hospital in the top end, the team aimed to reduce the rise of admission by improving self-management through education.  As many of the communities are remote and 79% speak primarily an indigenous language at home, language barriers create significant miscommunications and gaps limiting participation in COPD self-management education.


Audio communication is the key in this group as their language was and is only ever spoken.


Their development of talking boards for COPD action plans showed great innovation and highlights the success of using appropriate medium and language tailored for an audience when existing tools are not achieving results.


The boards have push button style recorded messages which have the COPD action plan information translated into Tiwi, Murrinh Patha and Yolyngu.  They have been positively received by indigenous leaders and respiratory patients.


If you would like any further information about this work, please contact the Centre on (03) 9076 2382 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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