Help make aged care equitable

Monash University researchers are seeking residential aged care staff to complete a survey about how they communicate with residents with limited English.

Researchers from Monash University are calling on staff who work in or visit residential aged care facilities to complete a survey about how they communicate with residents with limited English.

The research project – which received a grant from the Medical Research Future Fund – aims to support aged care residents who experience day-to-day life with a limited ability to communicate or understand English.

“This undermines their quality of life and causes frustration for residents, their families and staff,” project co-chief investigator Dr Katrina Long told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Survey responses will inform the PRACTIS: PRimary health and Aged Care Translation and Interpreting Services project, which aims to improve the delivery of care to aged care residents with limited English proficiency.

Dr Joanne Enticott

“We want to support equitable access to safe and high-quality aged care for all Australians, no matter what language they speak,” co-principal investigator Associate Professor Joanne Enticott told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“Your responses will help us understand what aged care staff need to better communicate with residents with limited English,” said Dr Enticott, a senior research fellow and the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation.

A large and increasing number of older people in Australia are born overseas but there is little information on how they manage their communication needs, said fellow co-principal investigator Dr Jim Hlavac.

Dr Jim Hlavac

“This research aims to find out how aged care staff communicate with residents with limited English proficiency across a variety of situations. These situations range from casual spoken exchanges to formal discussions about things like administration and guardianship,” Dr Hlavac told AAA.

According to the survey information, a person with limited English proficiency:

  • can exchange, greetings, understand simple questions, understand short instructions, provide short answers, express feelings, intentions and preferences in simple sentences of five-to-10 words
  • cannot speak freely in sentences of more than 10 words, express feelings or levels of discomfort clearly and with detail, understand instructions for a day trip.

People working in aged care are well positioned to help, said Dr Hlavac, a senior lecturer in translation and interpreting studies at Monash University. “We need their responses to find out which communication strategies are working and which ones are not working. This will give us evidence-based data to inform government why investment in the resources of residential aged care facilities and the communication needs of residents is needed.”

Dr Katrina Long

Responses will also help researchers provide communication tools to aged care workers who are “doing the best they can with limited time and resources,” said Dr Long, a lecturer, in occupational therapy at Monash University.

“We need aged care staff to complete the survey to provide a national snapshot of the communication tools being used to support residents with limited English. This will help us share with the sector what works and develop tools to plug any gaps, hopefully improving outcomes for staff, residents and families.”

The anonymous Communicating with aged care residents with limited English proficiency survey takes around 20 minutes to complete. All respondents go in the draw for one of 10 $50 eGift Cards.

Main image: A recreation of an interpreter working with an aged care resident and staff member – supplied by Monash University

Comment on the story below. Follow Australian Ageing Agenda on LinkedInX (Twitter) and Facebook, sign up to our twice-weekly newsletter and subscribe to our premium content or AAA magazine for the complete aged care picture.  

Tags: english proficiency, featured, jim hlavac, joanne enticott, katrina long, monash-university, non-english-speaking,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *