• Accessibility and suitability of residential alcohol treatment for older adults: a mixed method study

      Wadd, Sarah; Dutton, Maureen; University of Bedfordshire (BMC, 2018-12-13)
      Background Whilst alcohol misuse is decreasing amongst younger adults in many countries, it is increasing in older adults. Residential rehabilitation (rehab) is a vital component of the alcohol treatment system, particularly for those with relatively complex needs and entrenched alcohol problems. In this study, we sought to find out to what extent rehabs in England have upper age limits that exclude older adults, whether rehabs are responsive to older adults’ age-related needs and how older adults experience these services. Method This is a mixed method study. A search was carried out of Public Health England’s online directory of rehabs to identify upper age thresholds. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were carried out with 16 individuals who had attended one of five residential rehabs in England and Wales since their 50th birthday. A researcher with experience of a later life alcohol problem conducted the interviews. Results Of the 118 services listed on Public Health England’s online directory of rehabs, 75% stated that they had an upper age limit that would exclude older adults. Perceived differences in values, attitudes and behaviour between younger and older residents had an impact on older residents’ experience of rehab. Activities organised by the rehabs were often based on physical activity that some older adults found it difficult to take part in and this could create a sense of isolation. Some older adults felt unsafe in rehab and were bullied, intimidated and subjected to ageist language and attitudes. Conclusion This study identified direct and indirect age discrimination in rehabs contrary to the law. Further research is required to find out if age discrimination exists in rehabs in other countries. Rehabs should remove arbitrary age limits and ensure that they are responsive to the needs of older adults.
    • Exploring young people’s interpretations of female genital mutilation in the UK using a community-based participatory research approach

      Ali, Saadye; de Viggiani, Nick; Abzhaparova, Aida; Salmon, Debra; Gray, Selena; University of Bedfordshire; University of the West of England; City University (BMC, 2020-07-20)
      Background: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a deeply-rooted cultural practice mainly undertaken in Africa, the Middle East and Asian countries. Evidence to date suggests that although first-generation migrants to the West are abandoning FGM, the custom continues in some places, albeit in small numbers. This study examined how young people living in FGM affected communities in the United Kingdom (UK), interpreted and explained FGM. Methods: A community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach was used to recruit and train nine young people aged 15–18 as co-researchers. These comprised eight females and one male from second-generation FGM affected communities, living in Bristol. The co-researchers then undertook focus groups and semi-structured interviews with twenty participants aged 13–15 living in Bristol, Cardiff and Milton Keynes. The qualitative data from the training workshops, interviews and focus groups were collected and analysed using thematic analysis. Results:There were conflicting views among participants. Some perceived FGM as a historical tradition that was of very little, if any, relevance to them. In contrast, others perceived that the more archaic, cultural interpretation of FGM, more commonly shared by older generations, had been supplanted by a new form of FGM, which they believed to be a safe procedure, made so by the availability of highly-trained, qualified doctors and better equipment in the UK. Participants spoke of challenges encountered when attempting to raise the issue of FGM with parents. Nevertheless, they acknowledged that– being born and raised in the UK – enabled them to talk openly and to challenge others. Conclusion: Future strategies to address and prevent FGM in the UK will require a public health approach that is holistic, intersectional and empowering. Such measures should be relevant to young people born and raised in the UK who interpret FGM differently to previous first-generation migrant relatives and communities. Tackling FGM requires a shift away from a principal preoccupation with harm reduction and criminalisation towards collaboration and active dialogue with communities, in positive and productive ways that acknowledge and engage issues of identity, race, gender, and generation, enabling people affected by FGM to take control of their health and wellbeing.