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Developing a musculo-skeletal screening survey for Indigenous Australians living in rural communities.

Vindigni, D., Parkinson, L., Rivett, D., Da Costa, C., Perkins, J., Walker, B.F.ORCID: 0000-0002-8506-6740 and Blunden, S. (2006) Developing a musculo-skeletal screening survey for Indigenous Australians living in rural communities. Rural and Remote Health, 6 (1).

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Indigenous Australians living in rural communities experience high levels of musculoskeletal conditions that significantly impair their daily activities. Aboriginal health workers (AHWs) have a close understanding of their communities' needs and play a central role in the assessment and management of these conditions. To assist in the musculoskeletal assessment process a screening survey was collaboratively developed, trialled and evaluated for use by AHWs. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was developed following discussions with key community informants, and a literature review for relevant survey instruments. It was piloted before being administered by AHWs and the findings compared with those of a clinical assessment conducted by musculoskeletal health professionals. The participants included 189 members of an Australian rural Indigenous community. RESULTS: The screening survey achieved face and content validity. It provided high sensitivity (above 70%) and moderately high specificity (above 60%) for measuring musculoskeletal conditions in this community. It did not achieve high enough Kappa scores when measuring agreement between the screening tool and clinical assessment. A significant correlation was, however, obtained between the most prevalent musculoskeletal condition and between reported overall pain as assessed by AHWs and chiropractors. CONCLUSIONS: The screening survey has applicability in this community and has the potential to be adapted in similar settings. Incorporating a basic range of motion and palpation assessment to localise painful anatomical sites may help to further improve the sensitivity and specificity of this instrument.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Chiropractic and Sports Science
Publisher: Deakin University
Copyright: ‘First published in the journal, Rural and Remote Health []’
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