This thesis contributes original knowledge through an inclusive design approach to lowering language and communication barriers in healthcare and suggests shifting the discussion from culture to context to lower intra-cultural hindrances towards
learning English amongst some ethnic minorities. It offers an adaptable, scalable concept for gathering data on ethnic minorities (considering both different generations and religions) and employs a framework based analysis in design. Over the course of
three studies grounded on theoretical insights from literature, primary research lead to the development and testing of innovative aids for communication, including
educative and motivational elements.
This research began by seeking to understand ethnic minority consumers (EMCs)
perceptions of any barriers hindering their take-up of products or services in the UK,
and their preferences. This is particularly significant as the UK s EMC population is
predicted to double by 2051 and to diversify further, presenting challenges for social
cohesion and planning future community goals. EMCs also represent a significant
market for service and product providers. The research focussed on EMCs from the Indian Subcontinent based on religions and generations. It highlighted that first generation females lacking English and/or literacy (across religions and age groups)
faced problems with services and issues around empowerment . The importance of improved access to healthcare was a strong theme.
On investigating NHS staffs perceptions, five barriers were identified (Language barriers; Low-literacy; a Lack of understanding; Attitudes, gender and health beliefs; and Information retention) and that a female subgroup was particularly affected. This study sets out staffs perceptions of the aids currently employed and suggestions of what would help. It identified a (currently) low use of visual communication aids in adult-patient care and that pharmacist-patient communication in pharmacies was low.
Ideally, staff would like patients to learn English and to use more low-cost visual
communication aids. These findings lead to the development of innovative visual
communication aids through inclusive and user-centred approaches and participatory
design and brainstorming methods. This enabled the development of aids by considering the needs of NHS staff, EMCs lacking English and/or literacy and
indigenous elderly people to promote better patient-staff communication including a
take-away educational element for learning English at home.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.