The Australian population includes many people that were born overseas or have a parent born overseas or speak a variety of languages. The term used to describe these communities with diverse background and cultural traditions is ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ (CALD). Within the Australian population, there are over 300 languages spoken. Almost half of all Australians were born overseas or have parents who were born overseas. This cultural and language diversity can impact on access to and the experience of care.
Members of the CALD community are very diverse and generalisations are not appropriate. However:
Migrants from non-English speaking countries and people born here but with a non-English first language are more likely to experience barriers to accessing health services. This is due to communication challenges, cultural norms and religious beliefs that can influence patient and health care providers views of end-of-life. For 15 in 100 Australians, English is not their first language, and two in ten Australians speak a non-English language at home. Mistrust of the health system together with communication and health literacy barriers can mean less than optimal treatment adherence and appointment attendance by members of the CALD community.
Providing care that meets the cultural preferences of a person can be supported by developing a greater cultural understanding. Here are some suggestions for overcoming this barrier:
To learn more about our culturally and linguistically diverse population visit the ELDAC website and Australian Government Department of Health
Exploratory Analysis of Barriers to Palliative Care Issues Report on People from Culturally and Linguistically Divers Backgrounds.
This information was drawn from the following resources:
Last updated 02 August 2021