ST U D Y P R O T O C O L Open Access
The development of a healing model of
care for an Indigenous drug and alcohol
residential rehabilitation service: a
community-based participatory research
, Anthony Shakeshaft
and Anton Clifford
Background: Given the well-established evidence of disproportionately high rates of substance-related morbidity
and mortality after release from incarceration for Indigenous Australians, access to comprehensive, effective and
culturally safe residential rehabilitation treatment will likely assist in reducing recidivism to both prison and
substance dependence for this population. In the absence of methodologically rigorous evidence, the delivery of
Indigenous drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation services vary widely, and divergent views exist regarding the
appropriateness and efficacy of different potential treatment components. One way to increase the methodological
quality of evaluations of Indigenous residential rehabilitation services is to develop partnerships with researchers to
better align models of care with the client’s, and the community’s, needs. An emerging research paradigm to guide
the development of high quality evidence through a number of sequential steps that equitably involves services,
stakeholders and researchers is community-based participatory research (CBPR). The purpose of this study is to
articulate an Indigenous drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation service model of care, developed in
collaboration between clients, service providers and researchers using a CBPR approach.
Methods/Design: This research adopted a mixed methods CBPR approach to triangulate collected data to inform
the development of a model of care for a remote Indigenous drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation service.
Results: Four iterative CBPR steps of research activity were recorded during the 3-year research partnership. As a
direct outcome of the CBPR framework, the service and researchers co-designed a Healing Model of Care that
comprises six core treatment components, three core organisational components and is articulated in two program
logics. The program logics were designed to specifically align each component and outcome with the mechanism
of change for the client or organisation to improve data collection and program evaluation.
Conclusion: The description of the CBPR process and the Healing Model of Care provides one possible solution
about how to provide better care for the large and growing population of Indigenous people with substance.
Keywords: Indigenous drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation, Criminal justice system, Community-Based
Participatory Research, Remote, Model of care, Research partnerships
* Correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales,
Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
Health and Justice
© The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to
the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Munro et al. Health and Justice (2017) 5:12