Addressing a need identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their primary healthcare providers, this study developed a Wellbeing Framework for managing chronic disease in a manner that also supports wellbeing.
Chronic diseases have a substantial impact on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with Indigenous peoples experiencing much higher rates of both morbidity and mortality from chronic diseases in comparison to non-Indigenous Australians.
Access to appropriate, affordable and acceptable comprehensive primary healthcare is critical for preventing and managing chronic disease. While appropriate infrastructure, sufficient funding and knowledgeable health care professionals are crucial, these elements alone will not lead to accessible primary healthcare services for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Re-defining the way in which care is delivered in order to reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ needs and values is essential for improving the accessibility and acceptability of primary healthcare services. Chronic care models that are currently in use within primary healthcare settings, however, usually focus upon the systems, resources and policies that are required to deliver care, including prepared and proactive practice teams and informed and activated patients.
The important roles of culture, spirituality, Country and family in maintaining health and wellbeing are notably absent from such models. The Wellbeing Framework developed through this study considers these more holistic aspects of health in addition to the physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions.