Cultural safety in hospitals: Validating an empirical measurement tool to capture the Aboriginal patient experience

Elissa Elvidge, Yin Paradies, Rosemary Aldrich, Carl Holder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to develop a scale to measure cultural safety in hospitals from an Aboriginal patient perspective. Methods: The Cultural Safety Survey was designed to measure five key characteristics of cultural safety that contribute to positive hospital experiences among Aboriginal hospital patients. Investigators developed a range of different methods to assess the validity and reliability of the scale using a sample of 316 participants who had attended a New South Wales hospital in the past 12 months. Targeted recruitment was conducted at two hospital sites. Opportunistic recruitment took place through a local health district, discharge follow-up service and online via social media. Results: The Cultural Safety Survey Scale was a robust measurement tool that demonstrated a high level of content and construct validity. Conclusion: The Cultural Safety Survey Scale could be a useful tool for measuring cultural safety in hospitals from the Aboriginal patient perspective. What is known about the topic?: There are increasing calls by governments around the world for health institutions to enhance the cultural safety of their services as one way of removing access barriers and increasing health equity. However, currently there are no critical indicators or systematic methods of measuring cultural safety from the patient perspective. What does this paper add?: The cultural safety scale, an Australian first, presents the first empirically validated tool that measures cultural safety from the Aboriginal patient perspective. What are the implications for practitioners?: This measurement model will allow hospitals to measure the cultural safety of their services and ascertain whether current efforts aimed to improve cultural safety are resulting in Aboriginal patients reporting more culturally safe experiences. Over time it is hoped that the tool will be used to benchmark performance and eventually be adopted as a performance measure for hospitals across New South Wales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-211
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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