What Indigenous Australian clients value about primary health care: a systematic review of qualitative evidence
Gomersall, Judith Streak
Dwyer, Judith Margaret
O'Donnell, Kim Michelle
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Objective: To synthesise client perceptions of the unique characteristics and value of care provided in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) compared to mainstream/general practitioner services, and implications for improving access to quality, appropriate primary health care for Indigenous Australians. Method: Standardised systematic review methods with modification informed by ethical and methodological considerations in research involving Indigenous Australians. Results: Perceived unique valued characteristics of ACCHOs were: 1) accessibility, facilitated by ACCHOs welcoming social spaces and additional services; 2) culturally safe care; and 3) appropriate care, responsive to holistic needs. Conclusion: Provider‐client relationships characterised by shared understanding of clients' needs, Indigenous staff, and relationships between clients who share the same culture, are central to ACCHO clients' perceptions of ACCHOs' unique value. The client perceptions provide insights about how ACCHOs address socio‐economic factors that contribute to high levels of chronic disease in Indigenous communities, why mainstream PHC provider care cannot substitute for ACCHO care, and how to improve accessibility and quality of care in mainstream providers. Implications for public health: To increase utilisation of PHC services in Indigenous Australian communities, and help close the gaps between the health status of Indigenous and non‐Indigenous Australians, Indigenous community leaders and Australian governments should prioritise implementing effective initiatives to support quality health care provision by ACCHOs.
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