Exploring Yamatji perceptions and use of palliative care: an ethnographic study


Dembinsky M (2014) Exploring Yamatji perceptions and use of palliative care: an ethnographic study. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 20 (8), pp. 387-393.

Background:  The Yamatji people comprise several Aboriginal groups living in the Midwest region of Western Australia. Palliative care remains underutilised among Aboriginal groups, but little is known about Yamatji people’s thoughts about and experiences of accessing services.  Aim:  As part of a broader study focusing on Yamatji’s lived experiences of breast cancer, this study analysed their perceptions and use of palliative care services.  Methods:  The study used grounded theory and 28 in-depth interviews with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal health-care providers as well as Yamatji patients, carers, and families.  Results:  Palliative care services are underutilised by Yamatji breast cancer patients. The reasons for this include misperceptions about what palliative care entails, cultural and structural barriers to adequate service provision, and the inflexibility of institutionalised death.  Conclusions:  Efforts to raise awareness among Yamatji that palliative care is broader than end-of-life care would be a step in the right direction, but would not be sufficient to significantly increase uptake among Yamatji if culturally specific perceptions of death and dying are not included in the dialogue.

Palliative care; Breast cancer; Aboriginal Australia; 'Good' death; Cultural security

International Journal of Palliative Nursing: Volume 20, Issue 8

Publication date31/12/2014
Publication date online23/08/2014
PublisherMA Healthcare