The role of the bilingual/bicultural worker in dementia education, support and care

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Abstract

Members of minority populations often have difficulty knowing about and accessing dementia services. One of the strategies used to promote access is the employment of bilingual/bicultural workers (sometimes referred to as multicultural, link or outreach workers). This study involved interviews with 24 bilingual/bicultural workers in south western Sydney, Australia to gain a better understanding of their role within the dementia field. Seven themes emerged: importance of working with family; process of building trust when moving between two cultures; importance of understanding the culture; self-care and culture; flexibility of their role; linking community members; and linking communities to mainstream services. Bilingual/bicultural workers play a significant and complex role in supporting individuals and families within their community who are affected by dementia. The significance of their role needs to be more clearly acknowledged in the development of policy, further research and service provision within the dementia field.

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