Background: Chronic wet cough in children is the hallmark symptom of protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB) and if left untreated can lead to bronchiectasis, which is prevalent in Indigenous populations. Underrecognition of chronic wet cough by parents and clinicians and underdiagnosis of PBB by clinicians are known.
Research Question: We aimed to improve recognition and management of chronic wet cough in Aboriginal children using knowledge translation (KT), a methodologic approach that can be adapted for use in Indigenous contexts to facilitate effective and sustained translation of research into practice. Study
Design and Methods: A mixed-methods KT study undertaken at a remote-based Aboriginal primary medical service (February 2017 to December 2019). Our KT strategy included the following: (1) culturally secure (ie, ensuring Aboriginal people are treated regarding their unique cultural needs and differences) knowledge dissemination to facilitate family health seeking for chronic wet cough in children, and (2) an implementation strategy to facilitate correct diagnosis and management of chronic wet cough and PBB by physicians.
Results: Post-KT, health seeking for chronic wet cough increased by 184% (pre = eight of 630 children [1.3%], post = 23 of 636 children [3.6%]; P = .007; 95% CI, 0.7%-4.0%). Physician proficiency in management of chronic wet cough improved significantly as reflected by improved chronic cough-related quality of life (P < .001; 95% CI, 0.8-3.0) and improved physician assessment of cough quality (P < .001; 95% CI, 10.4%-23.0%), duration (P < .001; 95% CI, 11.1%-24.1%), and appropriate antibiotic prescription (P = .010; 95% CI, 6.6%-55.7%).
Interpretation: Health seeking for children with chronic wet cough can be facilitated through provision of culturally secure health information. Physician proficiency in the management of PBB can be improved with KT strategies which include training in culturally informed management, leading to better health outcomes. Comprehensive strategies that include both families and health systems are required to ensure that chronic wet cough in children is detected and optimally managed.