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Excluding Non-English Speaking People from Health Research Including Falls Research for Community-Dwelling Older People

Karen Pedemont,  DOBA DipAppSc(Orth) MAppSc(Res)
Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Bankstown, Australia

The exclusion of people with limited or no English language skill from health research occurs often, due to logistical and financial constraints. Exclusion limits the generalisation of study outcomes especially in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. This includes falls research for community-dwelling older people. Reduced vision has been reported in the literature to be a significant independent risk factor for falls in this population. Excluding non-English speaking people from health research also impacts on eye research. The aims of this review are to increase the awareness of the issues arising from the exclusion of non-English speaking older people from health research and to encourage researchers to include this vulnerable population in health research. English language skill is a valid indicator of health status and older people with limited English language skill have significantly poorer self-reported health status than those who speak English only. Despite this, guidelines governing inclusion of this population in health research are inconsistent. Resources and advocacy of inclusion will ensure ongoing equity of access to health care services for this population.

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