English literacy as a barrier to health care information for deaf people who use auslan

Jemina Napier, Michael R. Kidd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: This study sought to gain insight into how Deaf Australians who use Auslan as their primary language perceive their English literacy and if they feel that they can sufficiently access preventative and ongoing health care information, and to explore their views in regards to accessing information in Auslan. Method: A phenomenological, inductive study, with data collected through 72 semi-structured interviews with Deaf Auslan users identified through non-probabilistic, purposeful and network sampling. Data was thematically analysed for identification of issues related to healthcare information access through English. Results: Deaf people experience barriers in accessing healthcare information because of limited English literacy and a lack of information being available in Auslan, apart from when Auslan interpreters are present in health care appointments. Conclusion: Many Deaf people in Australia lack consistent access to preventative and ongoing health care information. It is important to be aware of the English literacy levels of patients. More funding is needed for the provision of interpreting services in other healthcare contexts and the translation of materials into Auslan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-899
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Deafness
  • Health literacy
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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