Kaua e takahia te mana o te tāngata: Do not trample on people’s dignity

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The Research Team

Our School of Nursing colleague Dr Jacquie Kidd introduces her important new paper

The Māori worldview holds that people are inherently dignified and valuable, so this whakataukī cautions us not to humiliate or disregard people as we make our way through life. There is a particular resonance between the whakataukī and our recent paper about cultural health literacy for Māori in the palliative care setting.

As health professionals, we are often so full of our own specialist knowledge and so immersed in our health culture that we don’t recognise that patient and whānau needs might not match the service we are offering or the way we are offering it. In this sense, the term ‘health literacy’ is a way of evaluating how effectively the health service (and those who work in it) communicates with the people who could or should be using it. Cultural health literacy refers specifically to the ability of the health service to work in ways that make it relevant and accessible to Māori patients and whānau.

Regardless of our good intentions, the end result of poor cultural health literacy can be whānau who feel disrespected and ‘trampled on’. They can struggle within our services, or can choose to avoid them as much as possible. As health professionals and service providers, we have a responsibility to build the cultural health literacy of our professions and our services in order to ensure that whānau feel welcomed, understood and valued.

Our paper highlights three particular times when communication between health professionals and Māori patients and whānau can go awry in palliative care. You can find a copy here: https://t.co/SZzM5dajUm

If you want more information, please contact Jacquie: j.kidd@auckland.ac.nz

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