Fiona Irvine Completed 2013
With this study, people from Chinese backgrounds highlighted the importance of social care that values the individual and respects cultural diversity. Their satisfaction with services seemed particularly shaped by experiences of accessing services, the attitudes displayed by care workers, the cultural and linguistic sensitivity of services, and the ease of access to information about services.
Participants reported that most care providers do not speak Chinese and do not offer Chinese written materials. Poor understanding of social care terminology seemed to lead to a situation where some people from Chinese backgrounds failed to take up social care services and became self-reliant or resigned to having no support, sometimes to the detriment of their well-being, where, in the words of one participant, they were required to ‘muddle along’ which sometimes led to a crisis. Respondents generally did not have high expectations of social care services and some did not know what services to expect. For some, these limited expectations resulted in high levels of satisfaction if a service was offered but for others it meant disengagement from services. Some participants described the complicated processes they had followed when accessing social care support.
Chinese welfare organisations often played an important part in facilitating access to services but in some cases people had reached a desperate situation such as hospital stay before receiving input. These organisations also helped people through signposting, brokering, where they negotiated services for the individual, or by offering culturally sensitive social care services. The Chinese welfare organisations that were mentioned received some of their funding from the local council but also relied on donations and fund raising.