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Ethnic disadvantage

Aged care residents from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are still receiving insensitive treatment, according to a Victorian report issued this week.

Commissioned by Australian-Polish Community Services (APCS), the report said CALD residents often experience inappropriate care, poor care, neglect, isolation, aggression, anger and withdrawal, although some did support satisfactory care.

It was based on interviews with residents and their family representatives, care providers, case managers, nursing home staff and a professional contractor along with written submissions from ethnic agencies and a coordinator of the Community Visitors Scheme.

“We have been aware of these problems for some time so we wanted to document the anecdotal evidence we had through some proper research,” said APCS CEO, Elizabeth Drozd.

The most common complaints from agencies representing CALD residents were poor communication and a lack of cultural understanding.

“There were only four requests to the Victorian Interpreting and Translating Service for interpreting and no requests for translation from all the nursing homes and hostels in Victoria last financial year,” said Ms Drozd.

The report did however highlight that CALD residents and their representatives need to be more proactive about seeking language assistance before they resort to making complaints.

On the basis of its findings, the report includes a comprehensive suite of recommendations for a range of key stakeholders including the Department of Health and Ageing, the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency, ethnic communities and aged care providers.

“The recommendations are practical and realistic and they are closely linked to the current legislation, including the Aged Care Act, the Aged Care Principles and the new Complaints Investigation Scheme,” said Ms Drozd.

Aged care providers were urged to consider the specific needs of CALD residents across all of the 44 Accreditation Standards and to “embrace the concept of becoming a culturally competent organisation, as espoused by Aged and Community Services Australia“.


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