Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Carers Support Project
Multicultural Communities Council Illawarra
Duration: July 2016 – April 2017
Informal carers of older people make a critical contribution to the health and wellbeing of Australian communities. Carers provide care and support to family or friends who are frail and elderly, experiencing chronic or terminal illness, have a disability or mental illness or have drug or alcohol issues. Because the caring role can be stressful and isolating, services have been developed to support carers. However, carers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are less likely than those from majority cultures to seek or use support services.
Multicultural Communities Council Illawarra (MCCI) engaged our team to conduct formative research and develop social marketing materials to promote the awareness and uptake of carer support services for carers of older people from Turkish and Vietnamese communities in the Illawarra region.
What we did
We conducted both a literature review and qualitative formative research to develop a greater understanding of Turkish and Vietnamese carers’ knowledge about and attitudes towards carer support services. Three focus groups and fifteen interviews were conducted as part of inclusive consumer consultations that involved 33 participants including carers, people who work with carers, family members of carers, or community members who are of an age that potentially require access to carer services. All groups and interviews were analysed using a thematic approach informed by a patient-centred conceptual framework of access to health care services. Our findings suggest strong commonalities were identified as relevant to many carers’ capacity to locate, identify and communicate with support services. We also identified substantial inter- and intra-cultural diversity between the Turkish and Vietnamese communities. In this, service seeking was made more complex by individual perceptions of need, tenuous conceptualisations of support requirements and varied beliefs about the value or benefit of services.
Findings from the formative research informed the development of a suite of social marketing materials including social media posts, radio scripts, posters and print advertisements. The materials will be utilised as part of the ‘Every Carer’ campaign which focuses on the need for all Turkish and Vietnamese carers to have access to advice, support and company. These materials will be disseminated by MCCI as part of their larger CALD Carers Support Strategy (funded by an Aged Care Services Improvement Grant, Department of Social Services). Final outputs include a scoping review, research report, social marketing plan and plain language resources to be delivered to MCCI in April 2017.