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 Increasing Cultural Awareness


“Diversity & Cultural Competency in Health Care Settings” offers several suggestions for increasing cultural awareness in a health care facility. These include:

■ Assess English
competency

■ Understand mistrust of senior living communities and other health care organizations by some minority families.

■ Be aware of cultural differences in
attitudes toward illness and acceptance
of help.

■ Employ bilingual staff, rather than a family member or paid translator, who may be more comfortable for the resident because they have more extended contact with them.

■ Use culturally specific phrasing and patterns of expression to gain resident compliance.

■ Be aware of cultural variants in the expression of psychological distress.

■ Encourage staff to see themselves working in each resident’s home rather than seeing them as people who happen to live in the staff’s work environment.

■ Involve everyone in the organization in assessing their perceptions of cultural problems and conflicts, and plan how they should be fixed. This opens up issues for the community that may have been
suppressed.

Source: Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging Orange Paper, August 2014.
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