Cardiac Rehabilitation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia

Sandy Hamilton, Belynda Mills, S. McRae, Sandra Thompson

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    10 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2016 The Author(s).Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Indigenous) people have higher levels of CVD compared with non-Indigenous people. Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) is an evidence-based intervention that can assist with reducing subsequent cardiovascular events and rehospitalisation. Unfortunately, attendance rates at traditional CR programs, both globally and in Australia, are estimated to be as low as 10-30 % and Indigenous people are known to be particularly under-represented. An in-depth assessment was undertaken to investigate the provision of CR and secondary preveniton services in Western Australia (WA) with a focus on rural, remote and Indigenous populations. This paper reports on the findings for Indigenous people. Methods: Cardiac rehabilitation and Aboriginal Medical Services (n = 38) were identified for interview through the Heart Foundation Directory of Western Australian Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Services 2012. Semi-structured interviews with CR coordinators were conducted and included questions specific to Indigenous people. Results: Interviews with coordinators from 34 CR services (10 rural, 12 remote, 12 metropolitan) were conducted. Identification of Indigenous status was reported by 65 % of coordinators; referral and attendance rates of Indigenous patients differed greatly across WA. Efforts to meet the cultural needs of Indigenous patients varied and included case management (32 %), specific educational materials (35 %), use of a buddy or mentoring system (27 %), and access to an Aboriginal Health Worker (71 %). Staff cultural awareness training was available for 97 % and CR guidelines were utilised by 77 % of services. Conclusion: The under-representation of Indigenous Australians participating in CR, as reported in the literature and more specifically in this study, mandates a concerted effort to improve services to better meet the needs of Indigenous pat
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number150
    JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2016


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