Friday, 02 August 2013
A University of Worcester lecturer has had her groundbreaking work in dementia research recognised after being quoted in an influential Parliamentary report.
‘Dementia does not Discriminate’ – a report produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dementia, was released last month and looks at the experiences of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in dealing with the condition.
Dr Karan Jutlla, Senior Lecturer for the Association for Dementia Studies – based at the University of Worcester – has carried out extensive research in this area, and gave evidence to the group on the importance of person-centred dementia care, and developing that care through an understanding of the individual’s unique culture and history.
She explains: “My PhD researched dementia care in the Sikh community, particularly exploring how personal histories and migration experiences influenced perception and experiences of caring for a person with dementia.
“Since arriving at the University of Worcester, I have been delivering education and training around how to be culturally competent via a person-centred approach to dementia care.”
It was through these channels that Dr Jutlla was invited to the House of Lords in March, to witness to those giving evidence to the APPG – a group made up of peers and MPs with an interest in dementia. During these discussions, Dr Jutlla shared her knowledge and suggestions to the APPG which have been subsequently shared in this report.
The APPG meet several times a year to focus on specific issues affecting people living with the condition, as well as conducting an annual inquiry on a specific topic.
Despite public awareness of dementia increasing over recent years, the report points out that people from BAME communities are being ‘failed by the system’, and Dr Jutlla is delighted that the issue has finally been brought into the national focus.
“It feels like it’s taken a while to get the issue on the agenda, and it’s been a constant effort,” she says. “I’m now just absolutely ecstatic that it has got to this stage.”
The report makes seven recommendations, including facilitating an improvement of the knowledge and skills of healthcare staff around the issue of culturally-sensitive care.
Dr Jutlla continues: “The recommendations are all quite straight-forward – there’s nothing new per se, but it’s giving out the correct message. It’s saying that we are going to meet the needs of people in BAME communities via a person-centred approach, looking at their cultural experiences as migrants.
“They acknowledge that there is a need to view these people as individuals, while still acknowledging that they have similar experiences. I like the message that it is sending out.”
Dr Jutlla will now look to develop a number of projects based on the report’s recommendations - including advancing the cultural competency training already in development – while she is also working to evaluate the Alzheimer’s Society’s flagship ‘Connecting Communities’ project, which is aimed at improving dementia care among BAME communities in eight London boroughs.