A women speaks to a nurse (illustrative photo).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Arab caregivers treat elderly people with dementia in the most humane and compassionate way – more than native Israelis and Russian- born Jewish immigrants, according to a study by researchers at Bar-Ilan University’s Galilee Medical Faculty and Poriya Hospital near Tiberias.
The difference is so significant, the researchers said, that it would be worthwhile for the Arab caregivers to train others to make their own care more humane.
Poriya’s Dr. Amitai Oberman and Bar-Ilan’s Dr. Miri Bentwich and Dr. Naomi Dickman, interviewed 20 caregivers with the three different backgrounds and analyzed questionnaires on autonomy of patients and human dignity that were answered by 200 people who give care to those with dementia in geriatric institutions belonging to each sector.
All of them live and work in the Galilee.
The caregivers from the groups were presented with theoretical cases much like those they encounter at their workplaces. They were asked how they would react in routine situations. The Arab caregivers – whether female or male – were found to give better treatment to those who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia than the other group. This is apparently due to different cultural concepts, including respect for the elderly. This was followed by questionnaires about honoring privacy, religious beliefs and ceremonies and giving explanations, encouraging independence of patients, consideration for families, effective communication and giving time to the individual.
Treatment by Arabs was most humane, followed quite closely by native Israelis and, far behind, by Russian immigrants.