Respiratory follow-up to improve outcomes for Aboriginal children: twelve key steps. Pamela Laird et al. Open AccessPublished:August 05, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lanwpc.2021.100239

Aboriginal children have higher rates of hospitalisation for acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRI) and experience more severe disease than non-Aboriginal children in Australia regardless of where they live.
In Western Australia (WA), the burden is particularly high, with admission rates for ALRI’s and pneumonia 7•5 and ~14 times higher respectively, in Aboriginal children compared to non-Aboriginal children.

Aboriginal children are at high risk of developing chronic lung disease post-hospitalisation. Two studies found that 15-19% of First Nations children hospitalised with ALRI have bronchiectasis within 18-months of discharge from hospital. Specifically, those with a persistent wet cough at 3-4 weeks post-discharge post-bronchiolitis have significantly higher risk of a future diagnosis of bronchiectasis.

The process for ensuring medical follow-up of Aboriginal children post-hospitalisation for ALRI complex and includes at least 12 steps. Many of the facilitators, such as ascertaining Aboriginal status, providing Aboriginal parents with culturally appropriate health information should be embedded in routine medical care for all health conditions. Cultural competence training is an important strategy to improve the knowledge and skills for staff to confidently engage with Aboriginal parents will facilitate medical follow-up.