"A feasibility study to assess the efficacy of bilingual health advocacy in ethnic minority cancer"

Project Summary and Objectives:

At the joint Cancer Research Campaign*/ Department of Health Symposium on cancer research needs of ethnic minority groups in 1995, a number of gaps were identified with language, culture and communication barriers being the dominant themes. It is important to begin to evaluate interventions, which may go some way towards addressing these deficits. Evidence from maternity and primary care settings suggest that health advocates (who are bilingual interpreters trained in health advocacy) can significantly empower patients, improve patient compliance with treatment and reduce the use of other health care services. This project aims to improve the psychological care of ethnic minority patients by; a) training bilingual health advocates in cancer specific communication and counselling skills, allocating patients to receive this service and; b) evaluating the impact of this service on psychological well-being, compliance with treatment and patient satisfaction with care. In addition, doctors' and nurses' satisfaction with their interaction with these patient groups will be evaluated. This service will be compared with a control group who will not receive the the advocacy service.

(* now Cancer Research UK)


The primary objectives of this study are:

* To train established bilingual health advocates in cancer-specific communication
   and counselling
* To compare the effects of this service and a no advocate service on
   psychological well-being, patient's compliance and patient's satisfaction with   care.
* To evaluate the effects of the advocacy service on Doctors' and Nurses; level of


Thomas VJ, Richardson A & Saleem T.  (2000) The efficacy of bilingual health advocacy in ethnic minority patients with cancer.  The Nursing Standard, Vol 14, (2) 32-33.

Further information may be obtained from:

Dr V Nicky Thomas
Consultant Health Psychologist
St Thomas' Hospital
4th Floor, North Wing
Lambeth Palace Road
London     SE1 7EH


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Last updated 22 November 2004
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