Media Release: Valuing and caring for carers in the City of Monash

06 July, 2017

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) unpaid carers in the City of Monash will be better supported to manage the challenges of their caring role and multiple responsibilities, which currently saves the Australian economy over $60 billion¹ a year.

Following a co-design forum held with carers and local support organisations, Eastern Melbourne PHN has commissioned the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health to deliver a CALD Carer Support Program. The program aims to identify CALD carers in the City of Monash and connect them with carer support services by providing culturally appropriate information and support, and reducing the stigma associated with identifying as a carer.

EMPHN CEO Robin Whyte said, the City of Monash has the highest population of people aged 65+ with severe and profound disability (13.2%) in EMPHN’s catchment.

“Research suggests that in CALD communities, aged people and people with disability have carers who are often family members that provide a high level of unpaid care yet have proportionately lower rates of accessing carer support services compared to Anglo-Australians,” she said.

“Fulfilling the role of a carer can be demanding and restrictive to the lives of the carers and their families.”

“Carers who do not access support services can often experience a burden of responsibility as well as social isolation, exhaustion and financial hardship because of their limited capacity to be employed in paid work due to their caring responsibilities.”

Executive Director Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health Dr Adele Murdolo said, immigrant and refugee carers and care recipients in Australia often have less access to both informal and formal supports to mitigate the impacts of the caring role.

“This is due to intersecting structural barriers including language difficulties, culturally inappropriate service provision, social and family isolation, and a changing and complex health system,” she said.

“Timely, holistic support for immigrant and refugee caring families will greatly improve the health of carers and care recipients and reduce financial burden on the Australian healthcare system via early intervention. Such support can be achieved by delivering culturally-tailored community health education, removing barriers for accessing services, and training social welfare and healthcare staff in cross-cultural awareness and identifying hidden carers.”

The City of Monash is one of the one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse within EMPHN’s catchment with 39.2% of its population born in countries where English was not their first language. The program aims to provide links to appropriate networks and support services for the high number of unpaid carers, who are often family members, particularly in the Chinese and Indian communities within the Monash area.

This service is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the PHN Program as part of EMPHN’s commitment to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of health and medical services for people in the eastern and north-eastern areas of Melbourne. EMPHN works across an area of 3,956 km² comprising a population of more than 1.5 million people.

CALD carers based in the City of Monash who wish to learn more about the program should contact the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health 9418 0999.

For media inquiries:

Claire James, EMPHN Marketing and Communications Manager 0425 887 397