Understanding culturally safe aged care from the perspectives of older Aboriginal Australians in rural and remote communities

Publication Name

Health Promotion Journal of Australia


Issue addressed: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples face challenges in accessing aged care and are less likely to use some services than their non-Indigenous counterparts. Culturally safe care is increasingly recognised as an enabler to improve access and quality of care. This study explored older Aboriginal peoples’ perceptions and experience of culturally safe aged care. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with sixty-three older Aboriginal people, purposively sampled from three rural and remote geographic locations in South Australia, between April and October 2018, with participants who were both receiving and not receiving aged care services. We asked participants how organisations do or could meet their aged care needs. We analysed interview data inductively into themes. These themes were incorporated into six principles of culturally safe aged care which were subsequently endorsed by participants and study stakeholders. Results: Participants described culturally safe aged care services as those which facilitated or maintained connection to participants’ culture, traditional lands and community. Five themes were identified: maintaining cultural identity, culturally informed service delivery, culturally competent workforce, culturally supportive environments and partnerships and collaboration within the aged care service system. Conclusion: Addressing cultural safety in aged care will require organisations to adapt their policies, service delivery, environments and work practices to meet the needs of older Aboriginal peoples. SO WHAT? Identifying culturally safe aged care from the perspectives of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples provides timely insight to how services may be better designed and implemented to promote quality of life.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Number

APP 1137563

Funding Sponsor

Australian Government



Link to publisher version (DOI)