Acute transitional care for culturally and linguistically diverse stroke survivors: Findings from a 12-month chart audit
Samantha Siyambalapitiya, Petrea Cornwell, Bronwyn Davidson, Tami Howe and Naomi Kalapac
Background: Australia is one of the most multicultural societies globally, with Census data indicating 26% of the population were born overseas. Stroke care professionals increasingly need to provide care to people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Cultural difference and language discordance create challenges in providing optimal stroke care to CALD patients. This multi-phase case study explored multidisciplinary practice in the provision of acute transitional care to CALD stroke survivors at one hospital. Phase 1 was an audit of medical records of CALD stroke patients.
Aims: The aims of the chart audit were: (i) to determine the proportion of the stroke caseload that are CALD; (ii) to identify terminology used to refer to CALD stroke patients and information regarding language and cultural background; (iii) to explore clinical pathways of CALD stroke survivors.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted of medical records of CALD patients, admitted with a diagnosis of stroke, over a 12-month period.
Results: Of the 250 stroke admissions, 34% (n = 85) were CALD, including four Aboriginal patients. CALD patients originated from 34 different countries of birth and spoke 19 languages other than English. Interpreter usage was reported for only 15 patients, with untrained family and staff often interpreting health information. In some instances, the usual care pathway was not provided due to communication barriers.
Discussion: The chart audit revealed the diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds that must be accommodated in providing acute transition care to CALD stroke patients; and highlighted how language discordance may compromise health care.