Edinburgh Hospital Discharge Support Service for Black and Minority Ethnic Older People

What was the issue you were addressing or working on?

There is considerable research and practice based evidence which demonstrates that BME communities are amongst the most disadvantaged in Scottish society. There are significant inequalities between majority and minority populations in health status (mental and physical), financial wellbeing and social capital. BME carers and those in receipt of care suffer an additional disadvantage in that the majority of mainstream support services remain inaccessible and inappropriate.

Problems of language and communication and the inability of providers to respond to religious and cultural requirements effectively prevent or inhibit the take up of services which could have a beneficial effect on their quality of life.

The cumulative effect of this disadvantage is that BME carers and those in receipt of care will experience poorer health, greater financial hardship, more acute caring situations, less support and an overall poorer quality of life.

What you did?

The project employs two part time workers (28 hours per week) to work with the Chinese and South Asian (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi) communities respectively. The service provided by the workers is primarily casework and advocacy based but includes a significant element of awareness-raising of the needs of BME carers and older people through working jointly with health and social care practitioners.

An important element of the project is in ensuring individuals have access to timely and accessible information which will help to ensure they are able to make informed decisions and gain control over their lives. A key element of this is in raising awareness of self directed support as an alternative to traditional services. Where this option has been chosen, the project works in tandem with existing MECOPP services to secure direct payments or an individual budget for the individual.

The project workers and a senior member of the MECOPP management team also participate in NHS Lothian’s Hospital Discharge Planning Group to ensure that issues identified during the course of the project are raised and considered within the appropriate planning fora.

What were the outcomes - benefits or otherwise?

Please read full case study regarding the story of  Mrs M. Click here to download PDF file.

Contacts - to find out more

Suzanne Munday – Director MECOPP (Black and Minority Ethnic Carers of Older People Project) ,  info@mecopp.org.uk

0131 467 2994