ARDAC Phases 1 and 2 and the early stages of Phase 3, screening for the study involved a significant amount of travel. ARDAC traveled from six to eight screening areas per year visiting each area every two years. The screening trips have involved visiting up to 15 schools per trip, however, we now mostly conduct screening at Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) or do home visits since most of our participants have left school.
We have gone from screening approximately 100 - 150 participants in each area over a period of two weeks to screening 1 - 2 participants per week. Two ARDAC team members are involved in each participant screening, taking with them a variety of screening equipment including two blood pressure machines, a stadiometer (height), scales (weight), two urine testing machines, medical supplies, testing equipment, a laptop computer, and study paperwork.
Participants are screened by a research nurse or Aboriginal Research Officer every two years providing the participant is available. Clinics are conducted at participating high schools, the local health service or at the participant’s home. Screening takes 10 to 15 minutes per participant. Before commencing screening the consent form is explained and completed by the study participant. Demographic data is recorded on the data collection form along with the screening results. The participant is also invited to complete the ARDAC kidney health survey for the socioeconomic determinants for health. The screening team ensures the privacy of the participant is maintained. All irregular results are referred to the participant’s designated health service, pending their consent, for appropriate medical follow up.
All data is stored securely at the Kids Research Institute at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The database is password protected and only accessible to approved study researchers. Each individual’s details are de-identified prior to analysis, which means they can not be identified in any published results or publications.
Outcomes to be measured include early markers of chronic kidney disease (haematuria, proteinuria and albuminuria), cardiovascular disease (albuminuria, hypertension and obesity) and diabetes (albumin, creatinine ratio; overweight/ obesity). The study will identify associations between risk factors for these outcomes and Aboriginal heritage, gender, age, body mass index, waist circumference, birth weight, growth parameters, region, level of relative isolation, index of disadvantage and socioeconomic status.
ARDAC Kidney Health Survey
This survey was added in Phase 3 of the study to evaluate the socioeconomic determinants that can influence health outcomes. Completion of the survey is voluntary and only needs to be completed once at a study screening visit. The survey is filled in either on a paper form or using an iPad which runs a “Quicktap Survey” and is completed by the participant alone or with the help of the ARDAC research officer.
As of 30 September 2018, 354 participants have completed the survey. This information will be analysed at the end of Phase 3 and be made available to our Aboriginal collaborating health partners.