Monday, 13 February 2017

Monash research to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal people with traumatic brain injury

Associate Professor Cadilhac
A successful National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) partnership grant will enable Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac and the other lead investigators to implement the first culturally secure intervention package for Aboriginal survivors of brain impairment in Australia.

The five year partnership grant worth $906,444 will facilitate collaborations between Monash University and Edith Cowan University, and enable Associate Professor Cadilhac from the Stroke and Ageing Group, School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) to expand her research contributions in this area.

“Aboriginal Australians experience stroke up to three times more frequently than non-Aboriginal Australians, with traumatic brain injury due to assault occurring up to 21 times more often,” said Associate Professor Cadilhac. 

“Yet Aboriginal people remain under-represented in rehabilitation programs.”

“The aims of this project are to improve accessibility to rehabilitation services for all Aboriginal people post brain injury in Western Australia, improve health outcomes for this population, and establish an economic model that will contribute to sustainability and planning of future services.”

The study includes a randomised control trial design to test a complex intervention that will be developed, following on from the research team’s Missing Voices study. In this latter study, led by Prof Beth Armstrong, the extent and impact of communication disorders after brain injury in Aboriginal people across Western Australia were investigated and this provided promising pilot data in support of the current successful application.

Associate Professor Cadilhac said the study will consist of cultural security training for hospital staff tailored to the delivery of services to Aboriginal people with brain injury; the use of culturally appropriate educational materials; and introduction of a specialist Aboriginal Brain Injury Coordinator to provide an in-reach service to participating hospitals as well as coordination of care and advocacy after hospital discharge.

“The service and costing models developed in the project will provide a basis for future planning of brain injury services, as well as services for a variety of other conditions in Western Australia and nationally.”

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