Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Aging in Australia: country of birth and language preferences of residents in aged care facilities

Ljubica Petrov A D , Catherine Joyce B C and Tonina Gucciardo-Masci A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing, PO Box 5093, Glenferrie South, Vic. 3122, Australia. Email: Tonina@culturaldiversity.com.au

B Benetas, Level 1, 789 Toorak Road, Hawthorn East, Vic. 3123, Australia. Email: Catherine.Joyce@benetas.com.au

C School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Alfred Hospital, Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Vic. 3004, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: Ljubica@culturaldiversity.com.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH17032
Submitted: 17 February 2017  Accepted: 17 July 2017   Published online: 5 September 2017

Abstract

Objective There is a need to better understand the use of aged care services by people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The aim of the present study was to describe the prevalence of people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) who were born in non-English-speaking countries and/or have a preferred language other than English and to describe service utilisation rates.

Methods The present study consisted of a secondary analysis of data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Aged Care Data Clearinghouse. Data were analysed by country of birth, preferred language, state or territory and Aged Care Planning Regions within Victoria.

Results Nationally, over 30 000 (18.3%) RACF residents were born in a non-English-speaking country. In Victoria, almost one in four RACF residents (23.9%) was born in a non-English-speaking country, and approximately one in eight (13.1%) has a preferred language other than English. Most Victorian RACFs (72.4%) have at least one resident with a preferred language other than English. Approximately one in four residents (26.1%) with a preferred language other than English are the sole speaker of the language in their facility.

Conclusion All RACFs need to effectively address the needs and preferences of their residents, including those who were born in a non-English-speaking country or prefer to speak a language other than English.

What is known about the topic? The number of older people from a non-English-speaking background continues to increase, but little is known about the prevalence of this cohort living in RACFs and how aged care providers are responding to their needs and preferences.

What does this paper add? The present study provides detailed, service- and policy-relevant information, demonstrating a substantial degree of diversity among people living in RACFs, with wide distribution across facilities and regions. The findings confirm the need for a systematic, sector-wide approach to addressing linguistic diversity and developing inclusive practices.

What are the implications for practitioners? All RACFs are required to develop policies and procedures in order to cater to the needs and preferences of residents who were born in non-English-speaking countries and/or who prefer to speak a language other than English.

Additional keywords: non-English speaking background, nursing homes, residential aged care facilities.


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