The prevalence of cognitive impairment among people attending a homeless service in Far North Queensland with a majority Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people

The prevalence of cognitive impairment among people attending a homeless service in Far North Queensland with a majority Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people Journal Article

Australian Psychologist

  • Author(s): White, Paul, Townsend, Clare, Lakhani, Ali, Cullen, Jennifer, Bishara, Jason, White, Alan
  • Published: 2018

Abstract: Objective To establish the point prevalence of cognitive impairment among a representative group of homeless people in Cairns. The sample included a large number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Method This research was conducted among an opportunistic sample of participants residing in a homeless shelter. An interview administered cross-sectional survey was conducted with 60 participants over 12 weeks. The Kimberly Indigenous Cognitive Assessment (KICA-Cog) and a clinical diagnosis by a psychiatrist (using DSM-V criteria) were used to establish cognitive impairment. The 36-item version of the World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Survey 2.0 (WHODAS 2.0) was employed to ascertain limitations in daily living activities. Results Seventy-five percent of participants were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. Thirty-five percent of the sample had a cognitive impairment based on the KICA-cog while over 70% of the sample had a cognitive impairment based on clinical criteria. Being screened for dementia or global cognitive impairment according to the KICA-Cog was significantly correlated with having greater difficulty across the following WHODAS domains: understanding or communicating, self-care, and life activities. Conclusions Many people who are homeless have a cognitive impairment and this impairment impacts their ability to participate in society. A shift in practice is necessary to support homeless populations with a high proportion of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. It is important that culturally appropriate methods—focusing on cognitive health—are employed to support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who are homeless.

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Suggested Citation
White, Paul, Townsend, Clare, Lakhani, Ali, Cullen, Jennifer, Bishara, Jason, White, Alan, 2018, The prevalence of cognitive impairment among people attending a homeless service in Far North Queensland with a majority Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, Journal Article, viewed 18 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=14460.

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