Understanding how people from minority ethnic backgrounds can access better support

Lead Investigator:  Professor Jan Oyebode
Institution: University of Bradford 
Grant type: PhD Studentship 
Duration: 36 Months 
Amount: £73,053

Scientific Title: Using the self-regulatory model to explore cultural understandings of dementia and inform a culturally sensitive intervention 

Why did we fund this research?

Comments from members of the Research Network:

'This is a potentially very valuable piece of research and seems to have been well thought out.'

'This is a well-targeted and welcome proposal. Attitudes to dementia may clearly vary across ethnic groups and research and understanding of these should be inclusive.'

'Interesting area of study and so needed.'

What do we already know?

Current memory services in the UK are not always suited to people from minority ethnic backgrounds.  One reason for this might be that support services do not recognise the issues that can affect first generation immigrants. Their strong roots in their culture of origin may influence the way their families understand, cope with and respond to having dementia. Health and social care professionals may therefore need to take a different approach to provide appropriate support. 

Previous work on how minority ethnic populations view dementia has found that it is often seen as a natural part of ageing. Caring for a family member with dementia is often seen as a responsibility of the extended family and not of care services. Research has shown that there are several barriers to being able to access support. These include not knowing about services that are available, the stigma attached to using services and the fact that many services are only offered in English. 

What does the project involve?

The PhD student on this project will find out more about how minority ethnic families view dementia using the 'self-regulation' model of illness. This model is one way of seeing how people perceive and cope with illness. They will interview families from Eastern/Central Europe, the Caribbean and Ireland to find out how people with dementia from these communities live and cope with the condition.

 The findings will be used to develop a strategy to help minority groups to access suitable services and break down barriers to seeking help.  

How will this benefit people with dementia?

The number of people from minority ethnic backgrounds who live with dementia is expected to double by 2025. This project will help people from those backgrounds to access suitable support and services that cater to their needs. Further development of the resource could then be taken forward in future work and possibly applied to other minority groups.