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New trials for culturally and linguistically diverse patients

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New trials for culturally and linguistically diverse patients

TRIALS to help people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds reduce their risk of falls and better manage chronic diseases are being fast-tracked thanks to new funding.  

One in four older Australians were born overseas. They can face additional challenges in managing their health, including language and cultural barriers.   

Western Health, which serves one of the most diverse communities in Victoria, is leading a number of research projects to help improve health equity.  

It recently received two Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grants for a co-designed community-led exercise program and Randomised Control Trial (RCT) to reduce falls in older people from CALD backgrounds.

“There is strong evidence that tailored exercise reduces falls in older people by up to 40 per cent,” according to Associate Professor Cathy Said, the Associate Professor of Physiotherapy, Western Health and the University of Melbourne.  Cathy Said 2 HR.jpg

“However, many older people are not doing sufficient exercise to reduce their risk of falls and most programs and resources to support older people engage in exercise have predominantly been developed for people from English speaking backgrounds.   

Falls are the number one cause of injury hospitalisation and death in Australia.  

The new program, Move Together, is designed to increase the uptake of exercise to reduce falls in older people from Italian, Arabic speaking and Chinese communities.   

A pilot trial will test its feasibility, followed by a larger trial to evaluate: effectiveness, costs and implementation.  

The project will include: researchers, clinicians, patients and their carers, and organisations with strong links to CALD communities.  

Fellow collaborators from Western Health are: physiotherapist Emily Ramage, Consultant Geriatrician Dr Jesse Zanker and Manager of Language Services Lyn Bongiovanni.  

A third project that received funding will look at whether pairing people from CALD backgrounds with peers from a similar background with lived experience will help them self-manage some aspects of their chronic disease.  

The project is being led by musculoskeletal and pain physiotherapist and researcher Dr Bernadette Brady from the University of Sydney and South Western Sydney Local Health District.  Bernie_Portrait1.jpg

Chronic disease is a leading cause of death and disability that disproportionately burdens CALD communities and self-management is crucial.  

Associate Professor Said and Professor Bodil Rasmussen, Chair in Nursing, Deakin University and Western Health will be collaborating on this project with Dr Brady.  

"The purpose of this study is to understand if patients with CALD backgrounds experience greater engagement with chronic disease self-management when they receive mentoring from a culture-specific peer, compared to those who do not,” said Associate Professor Said.  
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“We expect CALD patients who receive mentoring from someone with lived experience will be better equipped to adopt recommended behaviours and this will result in higher activation and self-efficacy, better coping and greater quality of life.”  


   * Pictured above (from top right to bottom right): Associate Professor Cathy Said, Dr Bernadette Brady and Professor Bodil Rasmussen