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Attendance at, and experiences of, urban hospital outpatient appointments: informing a new model of care for urban-dwelling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients
journal contributionposted on 2023-02-14, 05:12 authored by Karen WynterKaren Wynter, L Mullan, T Druce, G Freeman, G Maguire, L Davidson, H Karunajeewa, S Crowe, Bodil RasmussenBodil Rasmussen
Objectives To compare outpatient attendance rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ('Aboriginal') and non-Aboriginal patients at a large metropolitan health service in Melbourne, Australia, and to describe the barriers and enablers experienced by urban-dwelling Aboriginal patients in attending hospital outpatient appointments. Methods This study used a mixed-method approach. Proportions of referred patients who booked and attended outpatient appointments were extracted from a health service database. Aboriginal versus non-Aboriginal cohorts were compared using chi-squared tests. Eleven patients, one parent of a patient and two community nurses were interviewed by telephone to investigate perceived barriers and enablers to attending outpatient appointments among Aboriginal patients. Results Outpatient referrals were greater among Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal people; however, referrals were significantly less likely to result in an outpatient clinic booking and attendance for Aboriginal compared to non-Aboriginal people. Interview participants reported several barriers to attending appointments, related to logistical, quality of care and cultural factors. Suggested facilitators to make appointment attendance easier included: provision of transport support, improving clinic scheduling, utilising a variety of appointment reminder formats, providing food in waiting rooms, flexible appointment timing options, outreach services, access to Aboriginal support workers, improving communication and relationships with Aboriginal people, cultural awareness training for staff and the provision of culturally appropriate spaces. Conclusion Some barriers faced by Aboriginal patients in attending hospital outpatient appointments in urban areas can be addressed through implementation of enablers suggested by participants. Data have informed the development of a tailored, inclusive, culturally and consumer-focused appropriate hospital outpatient service model of care.
JournalAustralian health review : a publication of the Australian Hospital Association
Publication classificationC1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
CategoriesNo categories selected
HumansOutpatientsAustralian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PeoplesUrban PopulationNative Hawaiian or Other Pacific IslanderHospitals, UrbanHealth Services, IndigenousHealth ServicesClinical Research8 Health and social care services research8.1 Organisation and delivery of services3 Good Health and Well Being