Communication services for First Nations peoples after stroke and traumatic brain injury: Alignment of sustainable development goals 3, 16 and 17
International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Taylor & Francis
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Purpose: Colonisation and continuing discrimination have significantly and negatively impacted the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of First Nations peoples globally. In Australia, Aboriginal cultures thrive despite ongoing barriers to health care. This paper describes challenges and new initiatives for Australian Aboriginal people with acquired communication disability after brain injury and their alignment with the global aims forming the Sustainable Development Goals. Result: Research undertaken by an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal multidisciplinary team over a decade in Western Australia identified and responded to mismatches between community needs and services. Initiatives described include the Missing Voices, Healing Right Way, Brain Injury Yarning Circles and Wangi/Yarning Together projects. Recommendations implemented related to (a) greater incorporation of Aboriginal cultural protocols and values within services, (b) more culturally secure assessment and treatment tools, (c) support after hospital discharge, (d) Aboriginal health worker involvement in support. Implementation includes cultural training of hospital staff, trialling new assessment and treatment methods, and establishing community-based Aboriginal Brain Injury Coordinator positions and relevant peer support groups. Conclusion: Culturally secure brain injury rehabilitation in Australia is in its infancy. Our initiatives challenge assumptions about worldviews and established Western biomedical models of healthcare through incorporating Indigenous methodologies and leadership, and community-driven service delivery. This commentary paper focuses on Sustainable Development Goals 3, 16 and 17.