Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples make up 3.3% of Australia's population. They are the original custodians of Australia, and today are defined by descent, self-identification, and community recognition. Indigenous Australians live in all parts of Australia, but two in three live in New South Wales or Queensland. Only one in three live in a capital city.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more likely to have serious chronic health conditions including kidney disease and coronary heart disease than non-indigenous Australians. Many of these conditions are life-limiting illnesses. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders:
This contributes to their lower life-expectancy as a group compared to non-Indigenous Australians.
The high rate of life-limiting conditions including advanced kidney and heart disease among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples increases the need for access to palliative care. Yet many are unaware of palliative care. Others are reluctant to talk about death and dying, and many face racism and discrimination that prevents access to care. Together with a fear or mistrust of ‘Western’ medicine, language barriers, and poorly serviced rural locations this has a major impact on their experience at the end of life.
Talk with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to find out how you can support them with their palliative care needs. Everyone is different, but this may include:
To learn more visit the ELDAC website section about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and palliative care and read the Australian Government Department report Health Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care Issues Report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (1.07MB pdf).
This information was drawn from the following resources:
Last updated 02 August 2021