This paper aims to explore inpatient staff experiences of seeking to meet the religious and cultural needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) inpatients on mental health wards.
Nine semi-structured interviews were undertaken with inpatient staff in one NHS Trust in England to explore their views and experiences of supporting BAME inpatients to meet their religious and cultural needs. Anonymised transcripts were analysed thematically.
Inpatient staff reported lacking the confidence and knowledge to identify and meet BAME inpatients’ religious and cultural needs, especially inpatients from smaller ethnic groups and newly emerging communities. There was no specific assessment used to identify religious and cultural needs and not all inpatient staff received training on meeting these needs. Concerns were raised about difficulties for staff in differentiating whether unusual beliefs and practices were expressions of religiosity or delusions. Staff identified the potential role of inpatients’ family members in identifying and meeting needs, explaining religious and cultural beliefs and practices, and psychoeducation to encourage treatment or medication adherence.
Potential ways to address this gap in the knowledge and confidence of inpatient staff to meet the religious and cultural needs of BAME patients include training for inpatient staff; the production and updating of a directory of common religious and cultural practices and needs; local resources which can help to support those needs; and religious and cultural practices and needs being documented by mental health practitioners in community teams such that this information is readily available for inpatient staff if a service user is admitted.
This is the first study to consider inpatient staff views on meeting the religious and cultural needs of BAME informal patients and patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.
The authors wish to thank all those who supported and took part in the study. The study was unfunded.
Kang, K.K. and Moran, N. (2020), "Experiences of inpatient staff meeting the religious and cultural needs of BAME informal patients and patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 113-125. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-11-2019-0041
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