Culturally Sensitive Care is Quality Patient Care

May 24, 2010 at 3:01 pm Leave a comment

We often hear terms such as “cultural awareness,” “cultural competency” and “cultural sensitivity.”  These concepts are becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers to understand.  As our society becomes more and more diverse, it is crucial that every person who enters a healthcare facility be treated as an individual – sensitively, and without prejudice.  Regardless of whether you are a Nurse, a Physical Therapist, a Physician, Admissions Clerk or other professional, there are opportunities each and every day to interact with patients and their families and apply the concepts of cultural sensitivity.

Why is cultural sensitivity so important to delivering safe, quality patient care? Beyond the concept that language can often present a barrier to proper understanding and decision making, every patient has a unique background and life story that influences what he or she considers appropriate care.  Age, gender, ethicity, race, religion, functional ability, economic status, sexual preference and other factors such as prior healthcare encounters and recent family events can all affect how an individual sees the world. 

“Cultural competency is one of the main ingredients in closing the disparities gap in health care. It’s the way patient’s and doctors can come together and talk about health concerns without cultural differences hindering the conversation, but enhancing it. Quite simply, health care services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients can help bring about positive health outcomes.” – The Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

When staff and clinicians in healthcare facilities strive to understand the patient and their families – beginning with the very first encounter and continuing throughout the care of the patient – they take important steps in becoming more effective communicators. Safe patient care is fully reliant on the patient and family understanding information that is presented to them, and communicating questions with caregivers. And with better understanding there is more compliance with care regimens that reflect what the patient is willing to accept in their care.

There are many aspects to cultural competency that healthcare providers should be trained in and practice daily.  Envision, Inc. provides a best selling general staff orientation video designed to:

  • Define cultural competency and why it is important
  • Teach the importance of understanding cultural variation
  • Encourage the asking of questions for more complete patient understanding
  • Stimulate staff to learn how patients display cultural expression
  • Show how cultural competency can lead to better patient care
  • Achieve compliance with The Joint Commission’s Population-Served Standard

For more information, please go to www.EnvisionInc.net, or to link directly to a description of our 15 minute video, visit http://tinyurl.com/ms857x.

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