Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Justine Dandy

Abstract

Research on service utilisation by primary family carers has highlighted that carers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds face specific barriers in accessing services, such as lack of culturally appropriate services, communication issues, prejudice, feelings of failure and misunderstanding of mental illness. However, little is known about how to best overcome these factors from the carers' perspective. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions CALD carers had of the cultural appropriateness of carers' support services available in Perth. Ten primary family carers from CALD backgrounds participated in a semi-structured interview to explore their perceptions of existing services. Their responses were analysed using qualitative methodology and four significant themes emerged: emotional impact of caring, service usage (respite, emotional, social and financial support services), barriers in accessing services and suggestions for making services culturally appropriate. Findings indicated that the biggest challenge carers faced was managing the behaviour of their care recipient and expressed an acute need for education programs that could help them cope better. Carers expressed the need for information about disabilities, support services and financial benefits, to be given to them by service providers as soon as they assumed the caring role and suggested culturally appropriate ways of disseminating information. Carers preferred culturally diverse service providers for respite and counselling services but not necessarily for education and social support programs. However they preferred to participate in multicultural social support groups and would like to choose the language in which they received information about services and disabilities. Encouragement from service providers to use services, ability to discuss their needs with service providers, having information on disabilities and services widely available in various languages, frequent personal contact from service providers, help with dealing with paper work related to financial benefits, consistent and low cost respite services delivered by professional ethno specific staff, were some of the suggestions given to make services culturally appropriate.

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