Why the Welsh Language cannot be overlooked in a health emergency

Why the Welsh Language can’t be overlooked in a health emergency.

Over the past few months, Welsh hospitals have raced to create additional capacity on their wards to cope with the anticipated surge of patients with Covid-19. Patients have been discharged at a faster pace than before.

To support this faster flow out of hospitals for patients who were well enough, on April 7th 2020 Welsh Government published their Hospital Discharge Service Requirements  guidance https://gov.wales/hospital-discharge-service-requirements-covid-19. This guidance introduced a suspension in the Choice of Accommodation protocol, meaning that once patients no longer need to be in hospital, they are discharged. Those who cannot be cared for at home are placed in a care home, with no requirement for this to be one of the patient or family’s choosing. This change has been effective in enabling Welsh hospitals to create the space to deal with patients suffering from Covid-19, but have they managed to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of those patients discharged into care homes?

The Welsh Language Standards http://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2018/441/made  apply to all Health Boards in Wales and state that people have a statutory right to receive all of their care through the medium of Welsh if they choose. Health Boards should provide this through the ‘Active Offer’ of a Welsh language service to patients, without needing to be asked. Delivering the Active Offer and finding care for Welsh speakers that meets their language and cultural needs was a challenge pre-Covid, how much harder must it be in the midst of the pandemic?

Communicating in your first language matters. There is a global evidence base of the impact that language has, not only on people’s experience of care, but also on their health outcomes. This could have a profound impact on people, in particular those with Dementia or who have suffered Stroke and lost their use of English. https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementia-together-magazine/june-july-2019/losing-your-english-reverting-your-mother-tongue-dementia Language barriers impact on socialisation and place Welsh speakers in non-Welsh speaking care at risk of loneliness and isolation and the associated ill-effects on their well-being. https://hiraethcymru.com/ Friends and families are not currently able to visit, meaning that days and weeks may pass without people being able to speak in their first language.

This week, the world heard about 96 year old Ray Mc Dermott, who lives in Ohio and wanted to speak the language of her childhood once more. Welsh speakers from across the globe sent greetings and extended offers to converse with this lady. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52700484 The fear of not being able to use your mother tongue is not unique to the other side of the Atlantic and is shared by Welsh speakers much closer to home.

As our public services reflect on the first peak of Covid-19 in Wales and try to learn lessons for any future surges in demand, the challenge is for Health Boards and Local Authorities to make sure that consideration of Welsh language needs is not seen as a ‘nice to’ element of care, but instead is recognised as both a right and intrinsic part of person-centred care planning, no less important than clinical factors. Discharge planners and care providers need to consider how they can assess and meet the needs of Welsh speakers every day, but particularly in these challenging days, so that Welsh speakers are not left alone with their language in inappropriate care settings.

Pam nad ellir anwybyddu’r iaith Gymraeg mewn argyfwng iechyd

Pam nad ellir anwybyddu’r iaith Gymraeg mewn argyfwng iechyd

Dros y misoedd diwethaf mae ysbytai Cymraeg wedi cwrso i greu lle ar eu wardiau i ofalu am y cynnydd arfaethedig yn y nifer o gleifion Cofid -19. Mae cleifion wedi cael eu hanfon adre yn gynt nag o’r blaen.

Ar Ebrill 7ed cyhoeddodd Llywodraeth Cymru eu canllawiau Anghenion Gwasanaeth Rhyddhau o’r Ysbyty https://gov.wales/hospital-discharge-service-requirements-covid-19 er mwyn cefnogi’r rhai hynny oedd yn digon iach i adael yr ysbyty yn gynt . Mae’r canllawiau yma yn atal y protocol Dewis Llety, sydd yn golygu bod y cleifion hynny and ydynt angen bod yn yr ysbyty yn cael mynd oddi yno.  Mae’r rhein’ny and ydynt yn medru mynd adre yn cael eu lleoli mewn cartref gofal, heb unrhyw angenrhaid i hwn fod yn ddewis y claf neu’r teulu. Mae’r newid yma wedi bod yn effeithiol mewn creu lle o fewn ysbytai i ofalu am cleifion efo Cofid-19, ond ydyn nhw wedi llwyddo i gwrdd ag anghenion diwylliannol a ieithyddol y rhai hynny wedi eu hanfon i gartrefi gofal?

Rhaid i bob Bwrdd Iechyd yng Nghymru weithredu’r Safonau Iaith http://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2018/441/made a dywed rhain bod gan bobl hawl statudol i dderbyn eu holl ofal trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg. Dylai Byrddiau Iechyd ddarparu hwn trwy’r “Cynnig Rhagweithiol” o wasanaeth Cymraeg i cleifion, heb fod angen gofyn am un. Roedd cyflwyno’r Cynnig Rhagweithiol a dod o hyd i ofal i siaradwyr Cymraeg oedd yn cwrdd a’u hanghenion ieithyddol a diwylliannol yn ddigon anodd cyn-Cofid, faint yn anoddach ydy e yng nghanol y pandemig?

Mae cyfathrebu yn eich mamiaith yn bwysig. Mae yna dystiolaeth rhyngwlaodol o’r effaith mae iaith yn ei gael, nid yn unig ar brofiad pobol o ofal, ond hefyd ar eu canlyniadau iechyd. Mi all hwn gael effaith sylweddol ar bobl, yn enwedig y rhai hynny sydd wedi dioddef stroc neu sydd â Dementia ac sydd wedi collu eu Saesneg https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/dementia-together-magazine/june-july-2019/losing-your-english-reverting-your-mother-tongue-dementia.

Mae rhwystrau ieithyddol yn cael effaith ar gymdeithasu ac yn peryglu bod y  siaradwyr Cymraeg sydd mewn gofal ddi-Cymraeg yn dioddef o unigrwydd a’r sgil effeithiau negyddol ar eu iechyd a’u lles https://hiraethcymru.com/ Gyda ffrindiau a theulu yn methu ymweld mi fydd dyddiau ac wythnosau yn gallu mynd heibio heb fod pobl yn gallu cyfathrebu y neu mamiaith.

Wythnos yma rydyn ni wedi clywed hanes Ray Mc Dermott, sydd yn 96 sydd yn byw yn Ohio ac eisiau siarad iaith ei phlentyndod unwaith eto. Mae siaradwyr Cymraeg ledled byd

wedi anfon cyfarchion a chynnig sgyrsio efo’r ddynes yma. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52700484   Mae nid yw’r gofid o fethu defnyddio’ch mamiaith yn unigryw i ochr draw Môr yr Iwerydd – caiff ei rannu gan siaradwyr Cymraeg yn nes at  adre.

Wrth i’n gwasanaethau cyhoeddus ystyried  pig cyntaf Cofid-19 yng Nghymru a cheisio dysgu gwersi am unrhyw gynnydd mewn galw, yr her i Fyrddai Iechyd ac Awdurdodau Lleol ydy i sicrhau bod yr Iaith Gymraeg yn cael ei ystyried, nid fel elfen ddiangen o gofal, ond yn cael ei gydnabod fel hawl a rhan cynhenid o gynllunio gofal wedi ei canoli ar y claf, yn gyfartal â ffactorau clinigol. Mae angen i gynllunwyr gofal ystyried sut y gellir asesu a chwrdd ag anghenion siaradwyr Cymraeg bob dydd, ond yn enwedig yn y dyddiau anodd yma.  A hyn er mwyn sicrhau and yw siaradwyr Cymraeg yn cael eu gadael ar eu pennau eu hunain gyda’u hiaith mewn lleolia gofal anaddas.

Cyfarfod Grwp Llywio/ Steering Group Meeting

Trafodwyd nod a’r angen am yr ymchwil.

Edrychon ar y themau o ymchwil debyg gan gynnwys

– Iaith

– Diwylliant

– Polisi

-Gweithlu

-Dealltwriaeth o’r sistem

– Ffydd

– Rhyw

-Gwybodaeh

The purpose and need for the research was agreed.

Themes from existing research were explored including

– Language

-Culture

– Policy

-Workforce

-Knowledge of the system

-Faith

-Gender

-Information

Profiad Siaradwyr Cymraeg o gofal . Welsh speakers’ experience of care

Croeso.

Mae’r Canolfan am Heneiddio Arloesol ym Mhrifysgol Abertawe  yn ymchwilio profiadau siaradwyr Cymraeg hýn o gofal, gan gynnwys gofal yn yr ysbyty, gofal nyrsio a phreswyl. Noddwyd yr ymchwil gan Ysgol Ymchwil Gofal Cymdeithasol Cymru.

Mae ganddom diddordeb yn clywed profiadau unigolion sydd yn derbyn, neu wedi derbyn gofal, profiadau aelodau teulu a ffrindiau agos, yn ogystal a deall beth yw profiadau gweithwyr yn y maes o ddapraru gofal i siaradwyr Cymraeg.

Os hoffech clywed mwy am yr ymchwil dewch yn ôl i’r tudalen hon i darllen am gwaith diweddar, neu os hoffech fod yn rhan o bwyllgor llywio i tywysu, cynghori, cefnogi ac arolgygu’r ymchwil cysylltwch a mi trwy’r wefan hon neu ar hiraethcymru@gmail.com

Welcome.

The Centre for Innovative Ageing in Swansea University is researching the experience of older Welsh speakers of care, including hospital care, nursing care and  care. This research has been funded through the Wales School for Social Care Research.

We are interested to hear the experience of individuals who are in care, or who have been in care, the experience of family and close friends, as well as practitioners’ experience of delivering care to Welsh speakers.

If you would like to know more about this work please return to this page for updates, or if you would like to join a steering group to guide, inform, support and advise the study please contact me through this site or via hiraethcymru@gmail.com

Diolch/ thank you,

Angharad Higgins