Difficulties with yarning, thinking straight, understanding, reading, using hand signs and communicating are common after a person has a stroke or an injury to their brain. They might have trouble talking and doing simple things like asking for a cup of tea, calling out to their family, understanding shows on television or using the telephone. These difficulties are called Acquired Communication Disorders (ACD) and can really upset a person’s life and the life of their family and community.
Aboriginal people are experiencing more strokes and brain injuries than non-Aboriginal people each year. However, Aboriginal people don’t seem to be getting the same help for ACD after a stroke or brain injury than non-Aboriginal people. We would like to find out more about why this is happening.
WACRH, UWA and Edith Cowan University are exploring the topic in a bid to improve care for Aboriginal patients who experience communication difficulties after being affected by a stroke or other traumatic brain injury.
The aims of the Missing Voices project are:
- To find out how many Aboriginal people in Western Australia develop an Acquired Communication Disorder (ACD) after stroke or brain injury
- Develop a culturally appropriate screening tool that can be used by Aboriginal Health Workers, Doctors and Speech Pathologists to identify people with ACD so they don’t miss out on help and services.
- Describe the current state of services for Aboriginal people with ACD in Western Australia.
- Develop alternative ways of giving services and help to Aboriginal people with ACD. These services would be culturally appropriate and easy for people to access. The ideas for services will come from what Aboriginal people with ACD and their families tell us. The ideas will also come from talking with the local Aboriginal Health Workers, the Doctors and the Speech Pathologists
A screening tool will be developed with the help of Aboriginal Health Workers and Aboriginal people with ACD. This tool will help to make sure that Aboriginal people with ACD are identified. They might then be able to get some of the help they need. Right now, their voices are missing. We want to hear their stories.