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Conclusions

2018: Intercultural care and support

Intercultural care and support for people with dementia and their carers should be developed as a means to respond to increasing numbers of people from minority ethnic groups in Europe who have dementia or may develop it in the coming years. This is an ethical and human rights issue, reflecting important principles such as distributive justice, non-discrimination and respect for dignity and autonomy, all of which have an impact on the quality of life of people from minority ethnic groups across Europe.

Throughout this report, we have highlighted key issues which are central to the promotion of care and support in the context of cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity. The provision of intercultural care and support could not be considered as ethical if it did not consider the wellbeing of everyone involved. We have therefore tried to consider the needs, challenges and concerns not only of people with dementia from different ethnic groups but also those of informal and professional carers, including those who may themselves identify with a minority ethnic group.

We hope that this report will encourage greater openness to cultural diversity and an increased awareness of the key issues which need to the addressed if people with dementia and carers from minority ethnic groups are to receive the same quality of care and support as that available to people from majority ethnic groups. In drawing attention to issues that are important to people from one or more specific groups, there is a risk of over-emphasising difference, stereotyping and thereby jeopardising the right of people from all ethnic groups to care and support that is truly person-centred. However, awareness and acceptance of cultural differences does not need to over-shadow awareness of what people from all ethnic groups have in common, and can provide a solid basis from which to explore and understand the needs and wishes of each person (i.e. in his/her own right as a unique individual).

Governments, commissioners, service providers and health and social care professionals in Europe are not all at the same point with regard to developing or providing intercultural care and support and do not all have the same resources. However, in some countries, there are already structures in place, materials, training and consensus about the importance of developing intercultural care and support. In addition to this report and in keeping with the goal to improve intercultural care and support for people with dementia, Alzheimer Europe, its member associations and the expert working group on dementia and minority ethnic groups have developed a simple database which provides details about initiatives and materials related to the provision of intercultural care and support, which have been developed in Europe.  Please see: https://www.alzheimer-europe.org/Ethics

People from various minority ethnic groups might on the surface seem to share many cultural beliefs, practices and values (e.g. people from the Syrian community living in Denmark and others living in Greece) but their actual needs and wishes may be slightly different. Initiatives and materials developed for one minority ethnic group or for minority ethnic groups in general in a particular country might reflect or respond to certain issues which are unique to particular groups or places. Nevertheless, provided that people from the minority ethnic groups concerned are consulted and involved in their development, initiatives and materials that have been developed, tried and tested in one country for one or more minority ethnic groups, can in many cases be usefully adapted to other groups and situations.

We hope that this report and the above-mentioned database will contribute towards the improvement of intercultural care and support for people with dementia in Europe and we welcome any feedback or details of initiatives and materials from Europe for the database.

 

 
 

Last Updated: Monday 08 April 2019

 

 
  • Acknowledgements

    This report received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020) and from the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The content of the report represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains
  • European Union
 
 

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