Feasibility and acceptability of involving Bilingual Community Navigators (BCNs) to improve access to health and social care services in general practice setting of Australia
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Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1335
Background and Objective: Patients from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Background:s often face difficulties in accessing health and social care services. This is the first research conducted in Australian general practice setting exploring the feasibility and acceptability of involving bilingual community navigators (BCNs) in helping patients from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) Background:s access health and social care services.    Methods: Informed by the research conducted in overseas and previous phases of the current research, a total of 12 community health Workers (CHWs) were recruited and trained as BCNs. Three of them were placed for 8-10 weeks in two general practices in Sydney where most patients are from specific CALD Background:s (Chinese in one and Samoan in other). A mixed method design including quantitative analysis of a record of services provided by BCNs and post-intervention qualitative interviews with 16 participants including patients, practice staff and BCNs explored the feasibility and acceptability of BCNs’ role.   Results: BCNs served 95 patients, providing help with referral (52.6%), information about appointments (46.3%), local resources (12.6%) or available social benefits (23.2%) with a critical role overcoming their language barrier. Overall, BCNs fitted in well within the practice and patients accepted them well. Felt need of the service, recruitment of BCNs from the patient community, motivation, and training of BCNs acted as facilitators for their roles. Major barriers included lack of awareness of BCNs’ roles among some patients and practice staff, unavailability of information about local culture specific services, and inadequate consultation time of BCNs. Limited funding support and short project timeframe were major limitations.   Conclusions: In Conclusions:, while the intervention was found feasible and acceptable, sustainable funding is required to continue the intervention. Future research is needed to scale up this intervention to other culture groups and assess its cost-effectiveness.