G GORHAM1, A AHMED1, P LAWTON1, C O’HEIR2, C FRANCIS2, T GOODHEW2, K PRICE2, A CASS1
1Menzies School Of Health Research, Casuarina, Australia, 2Ernst & Young , Sydney, Australia
Background: The burden of end-stage kidney disease is heaviest amongst Indigenous Australians from remote areas, particularly amongst young adults. Dialysis treatment often requires relocation to an urban centre and causes social dislocation. Little is known of the impact on children of Indigenous dialysis patients, particularly in relation to school attendance and attainment.
Aims: To explore the impact on school attendance and educational attainment of Indigenous children who have a parent undertaking dialysis.
Methods:Embedded within a larger data linkage project, our study identified children of Indigenous adults receiving dialysis in the NT (2000-2014). This cohort was matched with the Department of Education’s Student Administration system (parent/guardian field). Using regression analysis the study examined the relationships between educational attainments – NAPLAN results, school enrolments and attendance – with having a parent on dialysis.
Results: Of 668 children with a parent on dialysis, Indigenous children comprised 84% and had poorer school attendance rates compared to non-Indigenous children. Indigenous children with a parent on dialysis had lower NAPLAN scores particularly in years 5 and 7, with 25%-38% lower scores for numeracy and reading compared to the general NT Indigenous population. Using multivariate analysis, children with a parent who did not relocate for dialysis were 1.54 times more likely to attend school compared to those who did relocate for treatment (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Lower attendance rates requires further investigation but may reflect social dislocation and lower levels of parental supervision. The study suggests that the impact of kidney disease may be inter-generational although the longer term impact on education, employment and health outcomes are poorly characterised.
Gillian has 20 years experience as a senior renal manager in the Northern Territory and was involved in the design and establishment of many of the dialysis service models. She has worked with local, state and national bodies in the development of renal strategic documents. Gillian is currently the Renal Research Program Manager at Menzies School of Health Research and oversees a number of projects evaluating models of service delivery. She is currently a PhD candidate.