Experience of Mrs G
Mrs G is of Asian origin and has been referred to the project by a family member. After the care provider the client has been with for several years decided they will no longer offer assistance in the client’s area, Mrs G’s social worker and her family struggled with finding a suitable carer. As a result, Mrs G was offered the option of her family continuing to provide home care or for her to move into an appropriate residential care home.
Concerns with the options provided:
- Upon talking with the ME60+ team, the family member who has been the primary carer for Mrs G mentioned how desperate they are for help and that they struggle with providing Mrs G with all the necessary care.
- The situation is not unique to this particular case. Studies have found that family carers experience a subjective burden which has detrimental effects on their health. Such carers have been found to be 2.5 times more likely to experience psychological distress than non-carers.
- Mrs G decided against moving to a residential care home because of her past unfavourable experience with care homes.
- Again, this is representative of a large proportion of 60+ people who prefer to stay in their own homes and communities until it is impossible for them to do so.
As well as receiving support from her social worker, the ME60+ team helped Mrs G’s family members and her social worker contact a wider range of caring organisations in order to find a suitable carer that will be able to provide regular assistance in Mrs G’s area. As such, the ME60+ team acted as an avenue through which Mrs G and her family can better access the available caring opportunities.
Challenges encountered, when responding to client needs
Throughout the process of assisting Mrs G, the ME60+ team came across several challenges:
- Some caring organisations were very difficult to contact – their listed number was invalid or unavailable or the organisation itself ceased to exist. From the successfully contacted organisations, many of them did not provide services in Mrs G’s area, while others only offered befriending support, rather than the personal care Mrs G needed.
- Two members of Mrs G’s family, the social worker and the caring organisations were contacting the ME60+ team as the main point of contact. We identified that there was a miscommunication problem, and we took steps to eliminate it.
- Due to Mrs G’s modesty issues, the family could not accept a male carer provided by one of the organisations.
- Such concerns are voiced through many societies where modesty is viewed as a cultural value and female healthcare provision – as essential.
To resolve these barriers, the ME60+ team:
- Persistently contacting appropriate organisations and further helped Mrs G and her family set up appointments with potential carers where they were able to discuss Mrs G’s needs.
- Agreed to act as the main caseworker for Mrs G and established a primary contact within the family. The primary contact likewise agreed to share information and communicate with other family members.
- Expanded the search for caring groups to take into account Mrs G’s modesty concerns, and to ensure the client receives a female carer that would be able to fully tend to her personal needs.
The ME60+ team achieved several successful outcomes:
- After referring Mrs G to a care-support organisation, Mrs G and her family members gained useful and extensive insight into the different available social care options, options which they were unaware of before.
- As a result, Mrs G’ was able to secure an appropriate carer that satisfied her home care needs.
- Later last year, when Mrs G’s family was again presented with the situation of the carer leaving, knowing their alternative options, Mrs G’s family was able to independently secure a new suitable carer in a considerably shorter period of time.
Mrs G and her family members frequently expressed their gratitude for the help provided by the ME60+ team.
The FCE ME60+ project remains in contact with Mrs G’s primary contact to ensure she is supported.
- Finding suitable care providers for minority ethnic 60+ people may be difficult. This is why perseverance in searching for an appropriate carer is essential if we hope to secure favourable arrangements for our clients.
- The older people prefer to stay and be cared in their own home for as long as possible. This is why there should be more investment to support minority ethnic 60+ individuals be more self-sufficient, more independent and stay in their own home. The demand is currently considerably higher than the availability for such type of service.
- Communication at all levels is crucial. This will ensure that all parties involved will stay up to date with the latest developments regarding the case to avoid miscommunication or duplicating the efforts.
- Supporting institutions and care-providing organisations must be fully aware of the cultural needs of their minority ethnic clients, be it language or modesty concerns, and consider them at all times when deciding upon appropriate carers.
To learn more about the Minority Ethnic 60+ Project and to register online, visit the webpage here.
-  Current and future challenges of family care in the UK (publishing.service.gov.uk)
-  What older people want from home care services – Commissioning home care for older people (scie.org.uk)
-  Cultural Competency: Matters of Modesty – Diversity Nursing | Minority Nurses, Ethnic Nurses
-  (PDF) Modesty and healthcare for women: Understanding cultural sensitivities (researchgate.net)