For some people, cultural identity or heritage is an important factor when choosing care in later life. Cultural identity can include a wide range of factors, including ethnicity, nationality, language or religion.
Care that respects and acknowledges people’s cultural needs is called culturally appropriate care. The has published guidance for care providers on how to provide culturally appropriate care services.
If you’re looking into care arrangements, you may be looking for an option where either your religious faith, or that of a loved one, is reflected in the service provided.
If so, you may be able to turn to a specialist organisation that provides specific care-related information to people from certain faiths in the UK.
However, bear in mind that local faith-centred care options are generally few and far between. Presence is often driven by local demand – so, for example, if you’re Muslim and live in an area with a large Muslim community, you’ll have a stronger chance of finding Muslim-centred care.
If you can’t find an obvious faith-based care option near you, don’t give up the search. As well as information about specialist organisations, we also explore other ways to search for culturally specific care.
Here we list some organisations that provide faith-centred care. However, it’s important to acknowledge that there aren’t that many options of this sort. Some notable absences are specialist organisations for Muslim, Hindu and Sikh people.
Here are some that do exist.
: formerly known as Methodist Homes for the Aged, is a care provider that was originally set up by members of the Methodist Church. MHA now welcomes residents regardless of faith, background or belief. It supports more than 18,000 older people across the UK.
If we haven’t listed a specialist organisation for your religion or denomination, that doesn’t automatically mean it doesn’t exist. There are often smaller groups that offer support and advice on a local basis to specific religious or cultural communities. To find out whether there is one, a quick Google search should reveal all.
Here’s our advice on finding local care options that will work best for you, thinking specifically about your faith.
It may well be the case that you exhaust all of the above research routes, and can’t find a local option that fully caters to your faith-based needs.
Choosing what to do next is, of course, a personal choice. But nevertheless there are other avenues you can explore if care provision is needed.
For more useful questions to ask a care provider, take a look at our checklists:
Looking into care options for a loved one can feel difficult and emotionally straining at any time. But if the person for whom you’re doing this doesn’t speak English well, or at all, it becomes even more complex.
Here, we run through some of the best ways to tackle this, to help you and the person you’re representing find the best care provision.
Whether your loved one needs to be assessed by a healthcare professional, or you’re talking to them about how they’d like their care provision to be shaped, it’s important that everyone involved understands each other.
If you speak the main language of your loved one as well as English, you may like to attend appointments and meetings with them, to help ensure clear communication.
However, the person in need of care may not feel comfortable communicating their needs through someone they know well. In this case, the NHS or local authority should be able to provide interpreting and translation services. It’s worth noting that you won’t need to directly pay for this.
If you’re at the stage of researching specific care options, providers may offer some information in the language spoken by your loved one. If this isn’t clearly signposted on the website, this doesn’t automatically mean it doesn’t exist – contact the provider directly to find out what they can offer.
When looking into care provision, the first thing you’ll want to do is draw up a shortlist of local and easily accessible options.
Once you’ve done this and you’re happy with your shortlist, it’s worth ringing each one to find out more. You may want to ask whether it has staff who speak the language of your loved one as a priority, before moving onto other important questions.
See our checklists above, with useful questions to ask when choosing a care provider.
You’ll probably have fewer feasible options to choose from at this point, but that may mean you’re one step closer to finding the best fit. The next step is organising a face-to-face visit, including the person who needs care, even if they don’t speak English.
If you haven’t yet been successful in finding the right care option for your loved one, don’t give up. There are avenues you can still explore, which is important to do if professional care is needed.
If you are lesbian, gay, bi and/or trans, you may have concerns about being treated with respect when using health and care services.
Discrimination doesn’t need to be direct to count as unlawful, either. For example, it could be a way of doing things that puts you at a disadvantage compared to others.