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2020: Policy briefing on intercultural care and support

At national level, Governments should work together with people with dementia and carers from minority ethnic communities (and if not possible, with key people from the relevant communities) to: 

  • raise awareness about their needs and wishes,
  • set priorities and criteria for culturally appropriate assessment, diagnosis, treatment and care,
  • make necessary funds available for nation-wide as well as local services that are sustainable services (avoid focusing solely on pilot schemes and upscale successful local projects where appropriate),
  • monitor the development and provision of services and support (access and quality) which correspond to the needs of all members of society,
  • ensure that intercultural care and support is meaningfully addressed in all national dementia strategies,
  • address barriers linked to language and literacy by:
    • making it a right to be assessed and diagnosed in one’s own (or best) language,
    • ensuring that assessment and diagnostic tools are culturally sensitive and properly validated,
    • agreeing on standards for professional interpreters and intercultural mediators, including appropriate training curricula and accreditation,
    • establishing guidelines and restrictions for the involvement of lay-interpreters,
    • making it a right to have access to an interpreter if needed for assessment, diagnosis and care decisions,
    • taking measures to increase the number of bilingual or multilingual staff working at all levels in the health and social care profession (e.g. by creating posts, creating minimum requirements and making such careers more accessible and attractive).
  • actively promote cultural diversity in research by:
    • involving people from minority ethnic groups in research funding programmes,
    • requiring their involvement in research ethics committees, and
    • encouraging people from minority ethnic groups to become involved in dementia research as participants, in the context of Public Involvement and as researchers.
  • regulate the living and working conditions of live-in migrant carers (salary, time-off, complaints system, health and social care support, care responsibilities in home country),
  • address structural and interpersonal discrimination (against people from minority ethnic groups) across the whole health and social care system by:
    • raising cultural awareness, sensitivity and competences across the whole health and social care system through voluntary and on-going professional education,
    • addressing inequity inherent in policies, practices and procedures.

At regional and local level, policy makers should, together with people with dementia and carers from minority ethnic communities (and if not possible, with key people from the relevant communities): 

  • develop culturally sensitive health and social care materials for awareness raising and information about health and social care and treatment options (i.e. which challenge negative stereotypes, are suited to different linguistic abilities and educational levels and portray people from a range of ethnic communities),
  • use appropriate channels of communication to reach, inform and engage in exchanges with people from minority ethnic communities about available care and support (e.g. through community centres, places of worship, sheltered housing and day centres, community radio stations, bilingual support workers and dedicated roadshows),
  • promote health literacy amongst minority ethnic groups,
  • create incentives for health and social care professionals and be prepared to take disciplinary measures when necessary.



Last Updated: Monday 21 September 2020