Interpreting through videoconferencing for CALD people

Finding new ways of encouraging older people from Culturally and Linguistically Different (CALD) backgrounds to go to clinicians for early diagnoses of dementia is increasingly important.

According to Dr Xiaoping Lin, part of the issue is a shortage of qualified interpreters and miscommunication with clinicians during assessments and diagnosis.

“With an increasing number of older CALD people receiving dementia diagnoses, it is critical that we investigate a raft of ways to help them and the clinicians a like,” Dr Lin said.

NARI is known as an Australian leader in ageing research for older people of CALD backgrounds. It is widely respected for its ability to identify gaps and, through research, find new approaches to resolving issues.

Through funding from the Alzheimer’s Australia Dementia Research Foundation, NARI is about to look at the use of videoconferencing technology with interpreters (i.e., e-interpreting) in cognitive assessments. The first of its kind in Australia, the project builds on an earlier NARI study that piloted the use of e-interpreting with four participants.

“This project extends the earlier study with the inclusion of a larger and more culturally diverse group of participants. It will also assess the reliability and cost-effectiveness of e-interpreting. No study has explored these two issues so far” Dr Lin said.

The Royal Melbourne Hospital Cognitive and Dementia Assessment Service will be involved with ten people recruited, as well as clinicians, interpreters and IT staff. Based on the findings, a protocol on the use of e-interpreting in cognitive assessments will be developed.

“We are hoping that the results lead to more timely diagnoses of dementia among people from CALD backgrounds and improved cost effectiveness of our health system,” Dr Lin said.