31.5% of the Wolverhampton population are Black, Asian or of ethnic minority background. And yet people from these backgrounds make up just 3% of those who access our services.
And, according to research, ethnic minority groups are known to experience higher levels of health inequalities and make less use of support services than other groups, leading to issues such as stress, anxiety, fear, burnout and isolation.
It’s time to help change that!
We have recently launched our Ethnic Minority Support Service. As a joint venture between ourselves and the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, the aim of the service is to improve access to palliative care for those who identify as being from an ethnic minority background.
It will provide assistance for those diagnosed with an incurable condition, while also supporting their family members and carers. The service will support cultural, faith and language needs.
Dee is our Ethnic Minority Support Worker. Formerly a Drugs and Alcohol Misuse Counsellor for the Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust, Dee is also a mum of seven and is passionate about helping to increase access to support services for Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups.
Here’s what she has to say.
“16 years ago I lost my beautiful mum to cancer. Even in the darkest days, we didn’t consider getting support, other than what was clinically necessary. Why? We just didn’t know the help was there.
Having social and emotional support available to us could have made things a little easier and allowed for conversations to take place to ensure my mum’s care was exactly what she wanted.
I am deeply passionate about my role because I feel it will positively impact people’s lives at a time which can be highly emotive and challenging.
When a life limiting illness becomes part of someone’s story, the needs of the individual and their family or carer can be complex. I believe everyone should be able to access the incredible range of help available both at Compton Care and out in the community. I want to encourage people to live as well as possible despite their diagnosis, and for families to feel they have a safe space in which we can identify and support their needs.
Our hope is that the service will improve pathways to care and break down barriers faced by communities who often experience marginalisation and health inequalities.”
Dee is based at Compton Care and Wolverhampton Science Park, where she liaises with community nurses and the virtual ward to identify eligible cases. She currently makes contact with two service users each day, but is hoping that this increases significantly as more people are made aware of the service.
Interventions through the service include arranging an interpreter, so family members don’t have to translate what can be emotionally difficult conversations involving their loved ones, or helping to arrange personal care for them.
A recent example of where Dee was able to help was in the case of a terminally ill gentleman in his 40s. His wife had very limited use of English. Dee supported the family with advice on the payment of their household bills and issues with one of their children at school.
It is hoped that through the service, people will be engaged with at the earliest opportunity following diagnosis, so that Compton can help them to live well for longer and provide much-needed support for their families.
To find out more, contact Dee McKinnon on 07817 957599 or to make a referral please call 01902 774570. You can also visit our website for more information.