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Aims and objectives To explore Indigenous people's experiences of hospitalisation for acute cardiac care. Background Indigenous Australians suffer a higher burden of cardiovascular ill health and hospitalisation rates in comparison with other Australians, but there is little research that explores their perspectives of hospitalisation. Design Narrative inquiry. Methods Interviews were undertaken using storytelling to facilitate participants’ descriptions of their hospital experience. Data were collected during 2014–2015. A purposive sample of Indigenous cardiac patients that were admitted to hospital and their relatives participated. Findings The narrative revealed three linked themes that characterised Indigenous people's hospitalisation experiences: The impact of the past; The reality of the present; and Anticipating the future. Hospitalisation was challenging for participants due to their sense of dislocation and disorientation, a lack of cultural and spiritual aspects to care practices, and the poor interpersonal relationships they experienced. Conclusions Findings revealed that there were many unmet needs during hospitalisation for Indigenous people. Past experiences and future expectations were connected in a way that impacted on participants’ current hospitalisation experience. Understanding this context, with incorporation of cultural and spiritual aspects of care may help nurses and other healthcare professionals to provide more positive interactions that in turn may contribute to improved cardiac care experiences of Indigenous people during hospitalisation. Healthcare professionals need to be aware and focused on person‐specific and contextualised aspects of Indigenous people's experience of hospitalisation for cardiac care in order to impact outcomes. Relevance to clinical practice Healthcare professionals need to understand Indigenous people's perspectives that contribute to improved health outcomes. Stories of participants’ experiences may assist in the identification of aspects which might further the development of culturally appropriate continuity models that could effectively provide support throughout Indigenous people's hospital journeys, and beyond the hospital, and help improve associated health outcomes.


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

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Journal Article

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