Struggling to be involved: An interprofessional approach to examine Maori whanau engagement with healthcare services

Dianne Wepa* and Denise Wilson


Aim: Explain the processes that whānau Māori used when engaging with healthcare services from an interprofessional approach. Methods: A qualitative design using kaupapa Māori methodology and constructivist grounded theory. The researchers were a registered social worker and registered nurse from New Zealand. We used semi-structured interviews with 20 Māori whānau (74 people aged 18-70 years) living in rural and urban areas in New Zealand about their engagement with healthcare services. The data analysis used constant comparative analysis to develop a substantive grounded theory to explain the processes Māori whānau use when engaging with healthcare services. Results: Māori whānau faced discrimination and constant struggles whilst engaging in health services to improve the health of their whānau member. Despite the many negative experiences, the collective orientation and the obligations of whānau contributed to their imperative to achieve the best healthcare for their whānau member. Struggling to be involvedexplains how Māori whānau experience and navigate healthcare services amid surviving the experience and being Māori, which together with a range of strategies that paradoxically assisted them to manage and survive their healthcare experience. Conclusion: Current healthcare interventions do not appear to work for Māori whānau in our study. Struggling to be involvedcontributes new knowledge about nature of Māori whānau engagement with healthcare services and signals areas where interprofessionals can assist with reducing health inequities for Māori.

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