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Health and death literacy and cultural diversity: insights from hospital-employed interpreters


Objectives 001225The aim of this qualitative study is to better understand, through the experiences and insights of hospital interpreters, how people from culturally and linguistic diverse (CALD) communities might respond to advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life discussions.

Methods Hospital interpreters from five Melbourne metropolitan health services were recruited for in-depth semi-structured interviews that explored the question, ‘What can be learnt from hospital interpreters about cultural issues related to ACP and end-of-life decision-making?’ Thirty-nine interpreters, representing 22 language groups, were interviewed. Analysis of the transcribed interviews used qualitative description.

Results Thematic analysis identified three major themes: (1) moral difference; (2) health and death literacy; and (3) diversity within culture.

Conclusion A value-based approach to ACP is recommended as a way to capture the person’s individual values and beliefs. Health and death literacy have been identified as areas that may be over-estimated; areas that can be addressed and improved, if recognised. Health and death literacy is a particular area that needs to be assessed and addressed as a pre-requisite to ACP discussions.

  • end of life

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