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Exploring health care workers’ perceptions and experiences of communication with ethnic minority elders

Likupe, Gloria; Baxter, Carol; Jogi, Mohamed


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Dr Gloria Likupe
Lecturer and Researcher in Healthcare/ Chairperson of School Athena Swan group

Carol Baxter

Mohamed Jogi


© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: There is a recognition in Europe and in the western world of a demographic shift in the ageing population. While the overall ageing of the general population is growing, the numbers of immigrants getting old in their host countries is also increasing, thereby increasing the racial and ethnic proportion of older people in these countries. This changing landscape calls for understanding of issues related to health care provision, policy and research regarding ethnic minorities. Communication is seen as a key factor in understanding the needs of ethnic minority elders (EMEs). The purpose of this paper is to explore health care workers’ (HCWs) perceptions and experiences of communication with EMEs. In this paper the term HCW includes qualified nurses and health care assistants. Design/methodology/approach: A descriptive qualitative study design using semi-structured interviews was employed. Ten HCWs, who had ethnic minorities in their care were individually interviewed to explore their perceptions and experiences of communication when caring for EMEs. Findings: Analysis of data revealed that in common with all older people, EMEs experience stereotyped attitudes and difficulties in communication. However, EMEs face particular challenges, including cultural differences, different language and stereotyping of care based on misunderstood needs of EMEs. Facilitators of communication included appropriate training of HCWs and appropriate use of interpreters. Research limitations/implications: Only homes willing to take part in the study gave permission for their staff to be interviewed. In addition, the HCWs came from various settings. Therefore, views of staff in homes who did not give permission may not be represented. Practical implications: The diversity of older people needing care in nursing homes and the community calls for training in culturally competent communication for effective provision care provision for EMEs. Originality/value: Training of health care staff in culturally appropriate communication requires effective practice.


Likupe, G., Baxter, C., & Jogi, M. (2018). Exploring health care workers’ perceptions and experiences of communication with ethnic minority elders. Quality in ageing : policy, practice and research, 19(3), 180-190.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 10, 2018
Online Publication Date Jul 4, 2018
Publication Date Nov 8, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 12, 2021
Journal Quality in Ageing and Older Adults
Print ISSN 1471-7794
Electronic ISSN 2042-8766
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 3
Pages 180-190
Keywords Communication; Cultural competence; Interview; Experiences
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