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The Wangi (talking) project: a feasibility study for the rehabilitation of Aboriginal people post stroke


Aboriginal Australians experience stroke up to 3 times more frequently than non-Aboriginal Australians.  However, they are less likely to be admitted to stroke units and uptake of ongoing rehabilitation services is low. There are currently no culturally sensitive rehabilitation treatment protocols available, and health service providers lack confidence in providing services to Aboriginal stroke survivors. The Wangi (talking) project (Stroke Foundation funding 2016-2017) contributes to the first documented culturally tailored treatment protocol for the rehabilitation management of stroke in Aboriginal Australians.


Findings from our team’s Missing Voices study (NHMRC ID#1046228, 2013-2016) showed that Aboriginal people with an acquired communication disorder reported that while they benefited from speech pathology intervention when it was provided, they would have liked more services and they found the transition from hospital to hospital difficult.  Individuals also felt that whilst they were given information on the medical management of stroke, they did not feel well equipped on how to live with the physical, cognitive and emotional effects of stroke.  Speech pathologists reported that they felt unsure as to how to provide appropriate supports and therapy, and emphasised the lack of availability of culturally appropriate therapy resources (current resources involve American or non-Aboriginal Australian pictures, contexts, and language).  In order to promote high quality, appropriate rehabilitation services for Aboriginal stroke survivors with acquired communication disorders there is a need to trial models of evidence based treatment in a way that is consistent with the principles of cultural security.

The research

The Wangi (talking) project aims to:

  • Test the feasibility of a culturally tailored intervention protocol for use by speech pathologists with Aboriginal clients with acquired communication disorder post stroke.

The project has a mixed methods design with participants recruited from the Missing Voices cohort, hospital and community based rehabilitation services, and community controlled health organisations in Perth.


Dr Mick Adams
Professor Elizabeth Armstrong
Associate Professor Natalie Ciccone
Associate Professor Deborah Hersh
Meaghan McAllister

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