AIM: This paper reports a study identifying the health and social care needs of informal carers for dependent adult relatives from a Bangladeshi community in South Wales and their views on the acceptability and appropriateness of formal support services provided by statutory, private and voluntary sectors.
BACKGROUND: Within the next 20 years in the United Kingdom the proportion of older people from black and ethnic minority communities will dramatically increase and there will be an increased demand for carers. Asian carers, particularly Bangladeshi carers, are one of the most neglected and invisible groups. As carers are fundamental to the success of community care and their importance is increasingly recognized, caregiving within Asian communities needs further exploration.
METHODS: A qualitative study with individual focused interviews was conducted with 20 Bangladeshi carers, using a combination of purposive and snowball sampling. Maxwell's dimensions of acceptability and appropriateness of quality of care were applied to aid understanding of the findings.
FINDINGS: Families primarily cared for Bangladeshi dependent adults and viewed the experience positively, although they were providing care under challenging circumstances. There was a lack of awareness of the health and social services available to assist carers, and limited involvement of community nursing and social services. A tension was identified in accepting some types of formal support, and ethnocentrism in service provision was evident.
CONCLUSION: Institutional barriers to accessing formal support, such as the inability to meet religious and cultural needs, must be addressed if Bangladeshi carers are to be provided with services which are acceptable to them. Primary care providers, including community nurses and health visitors, need to work in partnership with the Bangladeshi community if services are to be acceptable and appropriate for meeting the needs of these hidden carers.