Disparities in Unmet Needs in Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians with Cirrhosis: An Exploratory Study

Christina M. Bernardes, Paul J. Clark, Cath Brown, Katherine Stuart, Gregory Pratt, Maree Toombs, Gunter Hartel, Elizabeth E. Powell, Patricia C. Valery

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Abstract

Purpose: Understanding and responding to the supportive care needs of people with cirrhosis is essential to quality care. Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, are over-represented amongst patients with cirrhosis. This study documented the nature and extent of supportive care needs of Indigenous Australians with cirrhosis, in comparison with non-Indigenous Australians. Patients and Methods: The supportive care needs of adult patients diagnosed with cirrhosis attending public hospitals in Queensland were assessed through the Supportive Needs Assessment tool for Cirrhosis (SNAC). Patients indicated how much additional help they needed on four subscales: 1. psychosocial issues; 2. practical and physical needs; 3. information needs; and 4. lifestyle changes. We examined the rate of moderate-to-high unmet needs based on Indigenous status (Poisson regression; incidence rate ratio (IRR)). Results: Indigenous (n=20) and non-Indigenous (n=438) patients included in the study had similar sociodemographic and clinical characteristics except for a lower educational level among Indigenous patients (p<0.01). Most Indigenous patients (85.0%) reported having moderate-to-high unmet needs with at least one item in the SNAC tool. Following adjustment for key sociodemographic and clinical factors, Indigenous patients had a greater rate of moderate-to-high unmet needs overall (IRR=1.5, 95% CI 1.31–1.72; p<0.001), and specifically for psychosocial issues (IRR=1.7, 95% CI 1.39–2.15; p<0.001), and practical and physical needs subscales (IRR=1.5, 95% CI 1.22–1.83; p<0.001), compared to non-Indigenous patients. Conclusion: Indigenous Australians with cirrhosis more frequently had moderate-to-high unmet supportive care needs than non-Indigenous patients. Specific targeting of culturally appropriate supportive care for psychosocial, practical and physical needs may optimize cirrhosis care and improve the quality of life for Indigenous Australians with cirrhosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2649-2658
Number of pages10
JournalPatient Preference and Adherence
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

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