Health System Enablers and Barriers to Continuity of Care for First Nations Peoples Living with Chronic Disease

Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza, Lemlem Gebremichael, Shannon Brown, Chiung Jung Wu, Robyn A. Clark, Katharine McBride, Sonia Hines, Odette Pearson, Kim Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: Failings in providing continuity of care following an acute event for a chronic disease contribute to care inequities for First Nations Peoples in Australia, Canada, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). 

Methods: A rapid narrative review, including primary studies published in English from Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Central, concerning chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and related complications), was conducted. Barriers and enablers to continuity of care for First Nations Peoples were explored considering an empirical lens from the World Health Organization framework on integrated person-centred health services. 

Results: Barriers included a need for more community initiatives, health and social care networks, and coaching and peer support. Enabling strategies included care adapted to patients’ cultural beliefs and behavioural, personal, and family influences; continued and trusting relationships among providers, patients, and caregivers; and provision of flexible, consistent, adaptable care along the continuum. 

Discussion: The support and co-creation of care solutions must be a dialogical participatory process adapted to each community. 

Conclusions: Health and social care should be harmonised with First Nations Peoples’ cultural beliefs and family influences. Sustainable strategies require a co-design commitment for well-funded flexible care plans considering coaching and peer support across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Integrated Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2023


  • Aboriginal
  • Chronic Diseases
  • First Nations People
  • Indigenous
  • Integration Of Care
  • Policymaking
  • Co-design policy for rural and remote health research
  • Participatory Action Research

NTRO Type of Output

  • Major


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