Improving Welsh language provision for older people

The Welsh Government has published guidelines to ensure that older people in hospitals or care homes who prefer to communicate in Welsh are able to do so.

Thursday 04 August 2011

There is evidence that a shortfall in Welsh language provision in care settings can compromise the quality of care of Welsh speakers, particularly among older people.

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales’ report “Dignified Care?”, published in March this year, called on hospital staff to be aware that issues relating to the use of Welsh are treated as a matter of rights and not as a luxury.

As part of the Welsh Government’s “Dignity in Care” programme, a Welsh Language Toolkit has been produced  by  Gwerfyl Roberts, Enid Jones and Deian ap Rhisiart  from Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences. It was launched to  coincide with this year’s National Eisteddfod in Wrexham and is aimed primarily at carers and managers, educators and trainers.

The toolkit sets out a range of actions which should be taken by care professionals to ensure older people are able to communicate in the language of their choice. These include adopting an individualised approach to care planning that takes account of the significance of the Welsh language in the person’s life history and lifestyle, and providing social activities which are sensitive to the needs of Welsh speakers. It also suggests practical measures such as bilingual signage, and having Welsh radio, television and newspapers on offer.

Deputy Minister for Social Services, Gwenda Thomas, said:

“To care for someone properly it is important to get to know that person as an individual, and to ensure their voice is heard and their wishes respected.

“Providing a bilingual service for older people allows them to express their care preferences and uphold a level of dignity which they deserve. Ultimately, allowing someone to communicate in their first language contributes towards their sense of good health, wellbeing and independence and is an important part of the Dignity in Care programme.”

The Dignity in care Welsh Language Toolkit is available here

Publication date: 9 August 2011