Background: Due to the lack of resources in remote Aboriginal communities within the Northern Territory of Australia, Aboriginal people requiring chronic maintenance hemodialysis often must relocate from their home communities to Darwin city permanently to receive ongoing care. This phenomenon can cause distressing isolation from important traditional food, land, and family.
Objective: The aim was to identify the relation to traditional food from an Aboriginal perspective and the enablers and barriers to accessing traditional food post-relocation from remote regions of the Northern Territory, Australia, to the urban city of Darwin.
Methods: This was a qualitative study design with a total of 12 Aboriginal participants (4 males, 8 females) receiving ongoing hemodialysis at the Nightcliff Renal Unit. Participants had all relocated from a remote region to Darwin. Interviews were conducted between July and September 2018 in Darwin, Australia. Data interpretation was conducted by an Aboriginal researcher and co-authors with a combined 30 y of experience conducting research with Aboriginal people in a health context. Data analysis comprised an inductive thematic analysis approach with an indigenist knowledge interpretation lens to construct, reaffirm, and protect Indigenous views.
Results: Traditional food was an important part of participants' identity and strongly connected to social, emotional, spiritual and physical health, and well-being. Access to traditional food post-relocation is associated with enablers and barriers including mobility, local knowledge, social support networks, commercial access, and economics.
Conclusions: Dialysis patients who are dislocated from remote Aboriginal communities to Darwin experience clear disruption to traditional food access, consumption, availability, and knowledge dissemination to the younger generations.