Using research evidence to inform staff learning needs in cross-cultural communication in aged care homes

David Gillham, Anita De Bellis, Dongxia Xiao, Eileen Willis, Ann Harrington, Wendy Morey, Lesley Jeffers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Developed countries worldwide are facing an unprecedented demand for aged care services, with recent migrants of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds increasingly recruited as care workers while at the same time there is growing cultural diversity among aged care residents. This situation is compounded by rapidly changing technology and varied educational levels of care workers from diverse backgrounds. Objectives: The objectives were threefold: to identify staff learning needs to enable them to provide high-quality cross-cultural care; to improve team cohesion; and identify preferred learning approaches. Design: An interpretive qualitative study utilising focus group and interview data informed the development of an education resource. Participants and Settings: Fifty six care workers from four residential aged care facilities participated in either focus groups or interviews conducted in private meeting rooms within the care facilities. Participants included personal care attendants, registered and clinical nurses, managers, hospitality staff and allied health professionals. Methods: Focus group and interview data were categorised and thematically analysed. Data relevant to cross-cultural care, team cohesion and preferred learning approaches informed education resource development, including case studies. Results: Major themes identified the need to promote cultural awareness and understanding, and strategies for cross-cultural care and communication. Themes related to team cohesion demonstrated that staff were already sympathetic and sensitive to cross-cultural issues, and that culturally and linguistically diverse staff add value to the workforce and are supported by the organisation. Staff required clear, uncomplicated education resources to equip them with skills to address problematic cultural situations. Preferred learning approaches varied and highlighted the need for varied educational materials and approaches, as well as time efficient, opportunistic education strategies for the busy workplace. Conclusion: An education package was developed to value cultural diversity in the aged care workplace for staff and residents, and provide an exemplar for evidence informed education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-23
Number of pages6
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue numberApril 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Aged care workers
  • Cross-cultural care
  • Cross-cultural education
  • Residential aged care


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