Mercy Health welcomes patients, clients and family members from a wide variety of countries, cultures and backgrounds. The people who access our services come from 188 countries, speak 165 languages and follow 88 religious faiths. Our staff are also diverse, hailing from 131 countries and speaking 73 languages.
Mercy Health seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone who accesses our services, particularly the most vulnerable such as migrants and refugees. We seek to partner with communities so that we can develop more effective, meaningful and culturally responsive services.
For example, our Healthy Eating for Gestational Diabetes information sheets were developed in collaboration with women from Arabic, Chinese, Persian and Vietnamese communities. These culturally adapted, plain language, bilingual information sheets are provided to women during language specific education sessions.
This year, a study conducted in partnership with the University of Melbourne, HealthWest Partnership and the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health has shown that these information sheets combined with education sessions have made a significant difference in helping women from these backgrounds manage their gestational diabetes. More specifically, women reported (through a certified interpreter):
- reduced anxiety — “Reduced worry in me and my family and it helped me eating food – proper portions – as I did not know it” (Persian participant)
- increased confidence — “My confidence has increased as information is very useful by following information I divide meal into six times a day and my sugar levels have reduced” (Vietnamese participant)
- changed food portions, choices and meal plans — “Meal plans are very useful – has lot of info – sample menu is very specific and I can… copy meal plan” (Chinese participant)
- increased knowledge and skills — “The information we received will help us to manage gestational diabetes and not turn into type 2 diabetes, and if I decide to have another child it will still be in my mind” (Arabic participant)
- positive flow-on effect to family and friends — “Shared it with lots of my friends as a way to reduce weight – a diet guide” (Chinese participant).
This feedback demonstrates the value of developing culturally adapted health information and education resources and not just translations of mainstream concepts, resources and information.
The findings have been published in the report – Understanding the Impact of Organisational Health Literacy Initiatives on Clients
Last reviewed February 14, 2021.