Background: In countries where there is an official minority language, the majority language is most often dominant within health and social care provision. Legislation and policy direct that the official minority language population has a right to access health and social care in their language of choice, but existing research shows that this tends to occur only in pockets of good practice. Service users from official minority language populations report problems accessing safe and consistent health and social care in their language of choice. However, there is a gap in knowledge relating to how, when and why members of the health and social care workforce at all levels develop language and culturally appropriate practice (or not) when working with service users from the official minority language populations.
Study Design / Aims and Objectives: The study aimed to construct theory using Constructivist Grounded Theory based on the work of Charmaz (2014). The theory needed to clarify how members of the health and social care workforce develop the skills and knowledge they need to become language and culturally appropriate practitioners and provide an explanation as to why some do not. Data was gathered using one-to-one interviews, focus groups, electronic journals, and a skills audit. Students and qualified students from a bilingual Occupational Therapy Programme in Wales were used as a case example of pre-registration students. A range of health and social care practitioners, researchers, academics and policy makers from Wales and Canada were used as case examples of the multidisciplinary workforce in countries with an official minority language.
Results: The 7T Theory of the Development of Language and Culturally Appropriate Practice was constructed through five phases of data analysis and synthesis. The 7T Theory provides a comprehensive explanation of language and culturally appropriate practice and provides a framework for stimulating planning and provision of linguistically and culturally appropriate health and social care at all levels. The theory can be used to promote health and social care services that meet the needs of service users from official minority language populations on a national and international basis and across multidisciplinary team contexts.
Conclusion: Construction and dissemination of the 7T Theory of Language and Culturally Appropriate Practice fosters greater understanding of language and culturally appropriate practice. It provides a framework that can be used by individuals and organisations on every level from individual to policy level to promote change and development of best practice to foster safe, more effective health and social care for official minority language populations.