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Keywords:

  • Aboriginal;
  • communication;
  • dementia awareness;
  • Indigenous community

Abstract

Objective:  This paper reports on findings related to intersectoral collaboration stemming from an evaluation of a dementia awareness resource for use in remote Aboriginal communities*. The resource includes a DVD in English and three (3) Aboriginal languages of the Northern Territory.

Design:  A qualitative evaluation was conducted in four Northern Territory Aboriginal communities/organisations where the resource had been implemented by external dementia educators. The method included five focus groups with Indigenous aged care workers, community members and aged care service users (n = 26), individual interviews with health care professionals and service coordinators (n = 5), and observation. Data were analysed thematically.

Results:  Specific findings relating to intersectoral collaboration as a key enabling factor of effective dementia awareness and care are discussed in this paper. In addition to context variables such as understaffing and under-resourcing, there might be a lack of knowledge or interest on the part of some health practitioners concerning clients with dementia within remote communities.

Conclusion:  Dementia awareness in remote communities needs to be tackled from a ‘whole system’ perspective and not be the exclusive domain of the aged care services. Strategies that increase the critical mass of informed caregivers as well as health professionals will contribute to better services.