Medication safety challenges in Aboriginal Health Care services Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study is to examine the challenges faced by the Aboriginal Health Practitioners in the community assisting their clients to manage medicines. DESIGN:Qualitative, in depth interviews with eight Aboriginal Health Practitioners employed at various Aboriginal Community Controlled Health services in Victoria were undertaken. SETTING:Rural Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service. PARTICIPANTS:Aboriginal Health Practitioners who are registered with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner and who have experience in the planning, provision, management and evaluation of health services within their scope of practice. RESULTS:This study revealed multiples challenges faced by Aboriginal Health Practitioners assisting clients with medication management. These were mainly divided into the attitudes and the culture of the workplace and barriers with medications use faced by the clients. The following subthemes were identified within the attitudes and workplace culture theme. These were reporting of errors, pamphlets not culturally appropriate, lack of education of Aboriginal Health Practitioner role and doctors' understanding of Aboriginal culture. The subthemes identified by the Aboriginal Health Practitioners that were specific to the clients included language barriers, immediacy, sharing medications by family members, medications disposal, self-diagnosis, traditional medicine, not feeling comfortable with doctors, literacy and alcohol use. CONCLUSION:This study has identified many barriers to medication safety in the Aboriginal community, and strategies to improve some of the challenges identified.

publication date

  • 2019