Meeting the diversity needs of hospice patients

Based in the heart of Birmingham, one of the most diverse cities in the UK, John Taylor Hospice endeavours to cater for the needs of patients and families with different faith and cultural backgrounds.

This begins from the moment the hospice’s patients come into contact with John Taylor whose Welcome sign carries eight languages spoken by communities across the city including English, Irish, Polish, Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Arabic.

Catering to language and translation requirements is a challenge in a city where more than 100 different languages are spoken but the teams have access to a translation service when necessary. Some staff also speak a variety of languages with the Wellbeing Service being available in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi for example.

At John Taylor’s Inpatient Unit, each patient’s television can access different channels to meet their diverse requirements with languages including English, Hindi, Tamil and Punjabi. And the hospice is also in the process of creating new literature in Polish, Urdu and Punjabi.

Within the Inpatient Unit and Living Well Centre day service, John Taylor Hospice’s Catering Team will aim to meet the requests of each individual patient, whether their requirements are based in nutritional needs, allergy issues or faith-based beliefs. And when families prefer to bring their own food from home it can be re-heated in microwaves made available in visitors’ kitchens.

Birmingham is such a rich and diverse city and it’s important that the hospice reflects and celebrates this diversity. John Taylor Hospice teams are committed to ensuring a welcoming experience for everyone and that includes meeting the practical and spiritual elements of people’s differing cultural and faith needs. Through the formation of a Staff Inclusion Group and a Community Participation Group, teams continue to look at the hospice experience and involve staff, patients and their families in future decisions.

The hospice has made great strides in meeting people’s cultural and faith needs but this work never stands still – particularly during the recent months as communities have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. With many families finding it difficult to celebrate religious festivals together hospice teams have tried to offer additional support. In November a special Diwali card was created which was sent to patients and the teams are currently gearing up to ensure Christmas is celebrated as well as possible during lockdown restrictions.

 

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