Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Older Adults Relocating to Residential Aged Care

Academic journal article Contemporary Nurse : a Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Older Adults Relocating to Residential Aged Care

Article excerpt

The literature on culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) older people relocating to nursing homes covers three major points. First, it demonstrates a general lack of understanding about minority ethnic groups (Holman, Meyer, & Cotter, 2004). Second, it shows that cultural differences exist in how individuals from different ethnic groups view nursing home relocation (Nay, 1995). Third, it identifies a lack of knowledge about what minority ethnic groups feel about long-term care, particularly about the meanings they associate with relocation (Denermark & Ekstorm, 1990).

In a multicultural society such as Australia, health professionals have identified cultural diversity as a challenge. Today, nearly one in four Australian residents is foreign born. In addition to being foreign born, many are originally from non-English speaking countries. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS, 2011), the proportion of Australian residents from non-English speaking backgrounds in the over 70 age group has increased in the past 20 years, from 11% to nearly 25% and is projected to be from 17.8-21.2% by 2026 with Victoria to have the largest CALD population (28.3%). This is reflecting the post-war migration trend, with growth rates in Italian, Greek, Cantonese and Maltese speaking populations aged 80 and over, and in the Croatian, Arabic and Spanish speak- ing populations aged 65 and over and 80 and over as at 2011. However it is projected that by 2026, growth rates will be particularly high in the Vietnamese, Filipino and Mandarin speaking populations aged 65 and over, and in the Spanish and Croatian speaking populations aged 80 and over (ABS, 2011).

Care provision for older people varies greatly among countries and cultures (Albertini, Kohli, & Vogel, 2007; Hays, Pieper, & Purser, 2003). In addition to the increasing need associated with advancing age such as physical and sup- port loss like the rest of Australian older popula- tion, older people from CALD background have many characteristics associated with the need for aged care. These characteristics include cultural attitudes towards older adults in the family; the expectations of family care-giving; the care roles of women; beliefs and practices associated with religious and behavioural preferences.

It is known that care of older people from cul- tures such as European, Asian, Arab and African has been the responsibility of family members and was provided within the extended family home (Albertini et al., 2007). Studies have found that due to decreasing family size, the greater life expectancy of older people, the geographical dis- persion of families, and the tendency for women to be educated and work outside the home have changed the structure of a family (Donorfio & Sheehan, 2001; Saraceno, 2010; Van Bavel, Dykstra, Wijckmans, & Liefbroer, 2010). These changes have therefore affected the kinship-based care for older people from CALD backgrounds leading to an increase in demand for care outside the family home (Attias-Donfut, Ogg, & Wolff, 2005). Mintz (2007) notes the new trend of older people expecting care-giving support from former spouses. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW, 2011) predicts that the residen- tial and community aged care service sectors are set to experience unprecedented levels of demand for culturally appropriate services because of the increasing number of elderly CALD individuals.

Failure to identify cultural beliefs and practices has been shown to contribute to confusion for both the nurse and patient and result in either inappro- priate care or diminished access to care (Atwell, Correa-Velez, & Gifford, 2007). Although the significance of culturally appropriate care has been well documented (Browne & Smye, 2002; Burnard & Naiyapatana, 2004) little research is available on the impact of cultural diversity on older adults' responses to declining health and decisions about relocation to long-term care, in terms of the quality and outcomes of care (AIHW 2007). …

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