New research and NAIDOC Week sharpen focus on strength, resilience and respect in Hospital Pharmacy
The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) is marking National NAIDOC Week 2022 by highlighting newly published national research into care for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander inpatients, as the organisation works to embed training on culturally safe care across all members’ annual education.
The article, which leads the June 2022 issue of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR) released last week – available free to SHPA members – found a significant gap between the provision of hospital pharmacy services for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander inpatients and processes to measure outcomes.
Research authors Susan Welch (Gadigal Country), Bhavini Patel (Larrakia Country), Aleena Williams (Yugambeh woman, Larrakia Country) and Rebekah Moles (Gadigal Country) said health providers must be cognizant of the effects of 200 years of colonialism and respect the strength and resilience Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people have demonstrated.
‘It is important that health providers are aware that wellbeing for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people is strongly connected to country, law and community, and the effects of disconnection from these because of hospitalisation should be understood and acknowledged.’
While nearly two-thirds of surveyed Hospital Pharmacists / Pharmacy Departments had specific pharmacy-led processes for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander inpatients, only 14% conducted any service outcome measurement. Almost half of respondents (43%) did not use culturally specific resources for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander patients.
‘Wider knowledge, evaluation and measurement of the impact of these services on health outcomes and equity is needed and would allow hospital pharmacy teams to better tailor initiatives to meet the needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people,’ the authors conclude.
The research reveals both similar challenges to other international contexts, and new roles for pharmacists not previously discussed in the literature.
SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says this year’s theme ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ is a fitting call for Hospital Pharmacists and Technicians to ensure actions for positive change are part of their everyday practice.
‘SHPA fully supports the dynamic legacy and future of NAIDOC Week which is about celebrating strength and resilience, while rallying to build collective momentum toward cultural and heritage protections, Constitutional change, truth-telling and anti-racism.
‘Education provides the opportunity to increase understanding of Country and culture among non‑Indigenous Australians, which is key to bringing down barriers to safe and equitable patient care and workplaces.
‘We encourage all practitioners to complete the Indigenous Allied Health Australia’s (IAHA) Cultural Responsiveness Training, free for 12 months from April 2022 for all SHPA members, which comprises online modules tailored to Australian healthcare workers, supported by Pfizer.
‘Hospital Pharmacists of all levels should start and support conversations around culturally safe care this week, and every week – we must do it together.’