Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Parents and carers Perspectives and Understanding of Infant Resuscitation and Preparedness for Resuscitation Training

Ms Nakita Stephens1

1Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants currently have one of the highest rates of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) and infant death of any population in a developed nation. Prompt initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is crucial for survival in an emergency situation. This is particularly relevant in remote communities where delayed response times from trained personnel could affect survival and parents are likely to be the first responders in these instances. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and special care nursery (SCN) health-related education is offered to parents prior to discharge, which includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and safe sleeping guidelines; however, it rarely includes infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Although some health-related education is also offered in maternity units, infant CPR is generally not included. By talking with Aboriginal parents in Western Australia who were discharged from the NICU/SCN or the maternity units within the first 12 months of the infant’s life, this study aims to determine what they understand about infant resuscitation and their perspectives on learning the skills to perform it. This will also include the views of grandparents, aunties and extended family of the participants. Using community participatory action research (CPAR), this study will utilise a well-established Indigenous research practice of yarning to gain a detailed understanding of Aboriginal parents’ perspectives and understanding of infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Whether these perspectives differ depending on if the mother and baby spent time in the NICU/SCN or the maternity unit in the postnatal period will also be identified. It is anticipated that a culturally responsive infant CPR education program and framework could result from the findings of the research.


The presenter is a registered nurse with over a decade of experience in neonatal intensive care nursing and research, the presenter is interested in infant resuscitation and educating new parents. Having conducted a study to determine current levels of knowledge in infant CPR in Tasmania, the presenter noted the lack of input in this study of any Aboriginal people and wanted to explore this aspect further. As the author is not of Aboriginal heritage the proposed research can only be an outsiders understanding of the phenomenon however with the input of the Aboriginal Advisory Committee and key stakeholders it is hoped that an understanding can be gained and a framework and education created that can empower the community and parents.

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