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Original Research

Exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of Home Medicines Review

Submitted: 11 February 2014
Revised: 7 October 2014
Accepted: 16 October 2014
Published: 25 February 2015

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Author(s) : Swain LS, Barclay L.

Lindy SwainLesley Barclay

Citation: Swain LS, Barclay L.  Exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of Home Medicines Review. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2015; 15: 3009. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=3009 (Accessed 22 October 2017)

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  In Australia, Home Medicines Review (HMR) has been found to be an important tool to raise awareness of medication safety, reduce adverse events and improve medication adherence. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 'underserviced' by the HMR program and are the most likely of all Australians to miss out on HMRs despite their high burden of chronic disease and high rates of hospitalisation due to medication misadventure. The goal of this study was to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives of the Home Medicines Review program and their suggestions for an 'improved' or more readily accessible model of service.
Methods:  Eighteen semi-structured focus groups were conducted with 102 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients at 11 Aboriginal Health Services (AHSs). Participants who were multiple medication users and understood English were recruited to the study by AHS staff. Seven focus groups were conducted for people who had already used the HMR program (User, n=23) and 11 focus groups were conducted for people who had not had an HMR (Non User, n=79). Focus groups were recorded, de-identified and transcribed. Transcripts were coded and analysed for themes. Focus groups continued and concepts were explored until no new findings were being generated and thus saturation of data occurred.
Results:  Focus group participants who had not had an HMR had little or no awareness of the HMR program. All the participants felt that lack of awareness and promotion of the HMR program were contributing factors to the low uptake of the HMR program by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Most participants felt that an HMR would assist them to better understand their medicines, would empower them to seek information about medicines, would improve relationships with health professionals and would increase the likelihood of medication adherence. Most of the User participants reported that the HMR interview had been very useful for learning more about their medicines. However, many reported that they found the process confusing and confronting. The majority of participants felt HMRs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients should be organised by AHS staff, with patients being offered a choice of location for the HMR interview. Participants identified that Aboriginal Health Workers should play a key role in communication, knowledge translation, referral and follow-up.
Conclusions:  Current HMR rules impede rather than facilitate HMRs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Tailoring and remodelling of the HMR program is needed to increase the awareness, accessibility, acceptability and effectiveness of the HMR program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Key words: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, culturally appropriate, medication adherence, medication review.

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