Dementia research must include CALD Australians

NARI is calling for more funding for dementia research to ensure that experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Australians are included in research and clinical trials.

The call is the result of research by NARI and Sydney University, published in the Medical Journal of Australia which shows that Australians from CALD backgrounds may be receiving inequitable or inappropriate dementia care because they are not being included enough in dementia research.

Researchers found that 42 of the 94 registered active dementia clinical trials in Australia excluded patients not fluent in English. CALD Australians were also excluded from dementia cohort studies. Of the 16 cohort studies identified, all collected data exclusively in English, and six excluded participants who were not fluent in English.

NARI is currently working with the NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research to develop a roadmap to help identify research priorities for older CALD people living with dementia and to expedite collaboration between researchers and CALD communities. 

Associate Professor Bianca Brijnath, Director Social Gerontology, NARI said that excluding CALD Australians meant that care may not be properly tailored to their requirements in the future.

“This is problematic given that one in three older Australians are from a CALD background,” she said.

She called on funding bodies to ensure that applicants include how their proposed research will involve CALD Australians.