Review of current pathways to wait-listing for kidney transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with end-stage kidney disease in the Top End of Northern Australia

Sandawana W. Majoni, Kerry Dole, Jaquelyne T. Hughes, Charles Pain

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Published evidence confirms poor access to wait-listing for kidney transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians from the Northern Territory. This study aimed to identify the practical causes and recommend improvement. Pathways to wait-listing for a kidney transplant were reviewed to identify potential barriers. Processes were mapped to identify potential problem areas, provide comparison of the actual versus the ideal, identify where data needed collecting and provide clear presentation of the processes. Staff involved in the work-up of patients going for wait-listing were asked to list the barriers. Data were collected for patients from the transplant database between 1 January 2017 to 31 August 2018. Quality improvement statistical processes and charts were used to analyse and present the results. There were 102 patients in the transplant work-up process 81.4% were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, 71.6% were progressing with the work-up, 28.4% were on-hold. Of the 29 patients on hold, 92.9% were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Causes of delays to wait-listing included: failure to attend appointments due to competing priorities and communication barriers, access and navigating complex pathways to specialist services, transport, co-morbidities requiring multiple tests and multiple specialty services, and pressures on dialysis and hospital bed capacity. In conclusion, barriers to wait-listing for kidney transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are complex and can be addressed by redesigning healthcare provision, including increasing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to provide education and patient navigation of the healthcare system and improve communication, streamlining investigations and coordinating specialist services. What is known about the topic?: Access to wait-listing for kidney transplantation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians from the Northern Territory is poor. Barriers to wait-listing for kidney transplantation can occur anywhere along the pathway of care from a patient's first contact with the renal service to wait-listing. What does this paper add?: Identified barriers to wait-listing for kidney transplantation include health service workforce and resources shortages, patient and health service barriers such as patients' competing priorities, poor communication between the health service and patients, transport and accommodation for patients from remote communities, complex comorbidities, and access to specialist services. What are the implications for practitioners?: Recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors, healthcare workers and patient navigators should be prioritised to provide an effective culturally appropriate service. Effective communication strategies with patients and improved access to streamlined appropriate investigations and collaboration among specialist services will invariably improve access to wait-listing for kidney transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Health Review
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2020

Keywords

  • kidney transplantation
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • end-stage kidney disease
  • Northern Territory
  • communication
  • healthcare workers
  • Patient navigator

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