Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Nursing Honours


Faculty of Health and Human Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Nancy Hudson-Rodd


Since 1975, a large number of Vietnamese refugees have settled in Australia. They can be recognised as a distinct cultural group within our society. However, little research has focused upon the health practices and beliefs of these people. This is a study of elderly Vietnamese refugees who have previously been identified as maintaining a great adherence to traditional values and behaviours. The aim of the research is to describe the health practices and beliefs of elderly Vietnamese refugees. As a mini ethno-nursing study, this research sought qualitative data, guided by the Health Belief Model adapted to accommodate cultural perspectives. With the assistance of a Vietnamese interpreter, five elderly Vietnamese people were interviewed in their own homes. Individuals were questioned about personal beliefs in maintaining health, the causes of illness and health care practices. The concepts of thematic and pattern analysis were used to analyse the data, by observing similar ideas and experiences expressed by the participants. Actual results contrasted with those of previous studies and created a different view of these elderly people. While still using traditional home remedies to treat simple ailment, they are happily using, accepting and understanding western health care services. They also displayed a preference for them, above other traditional methods. Health was an important component of every day life. Beliefs about the maintenance of health related to eating a diet high in vegetables, regular daily exercise and a positive attitude toward life. Variation from these practices was described as increasing the potential for illness. These results reinforce the need for health care workers to assess each Vietnamese client individually, and identify the client's perception of health and illness. This promotes the need for health care workers to recognise and understand traditional Vietnamese home remedies, thus enabling them to become more culturally sensitive and informed when interacting with elderly Vietnamese clients.