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Culturally competent care – the essence of good service user experience

We all can agree that healthcare is built on trust. In order to trust someone. We need to let our guards down. Guards are barriers to healthcare access. There are many barriers to healthcare access such as physical geography, availability of services, transportation, healthcare provider-related barriers, culture, communication, language, finances and various others. These barriers cause health inequalities, which result in poor health outcomes and poor quality of life. In order to see better health in the community, it is important to break down these barriers.

Healthcare is no more local but global. The community we live in is multicultural. In such an environment, only healthcare experience and expertise will not suffice whilst adopting a patient-centred care approach to support service users/patients. Cultural competence is key. One needs to be aware of the racial and ethnic disparities, language or communication preferences, sensitivity, comfort level, physical disabilities, psychological factors and such, especially when working in a multicultural environment, caring for immigrant populations and tending to the healthcare needs of refugees (Huot et al., 2019). This also applies to a healthcare provider who has migrated to work in a healthcare sector to understand the needs of service users/patients who are ethnically and culturally diverse.

Culture is dynamic and it changes all the time. People see, experience and mean things differently creating cultural differences (Arulanantham, 2022). One of the key responsibilities of healthcare professionals in cross-cultural communication is to try to overcome these cultural differences and establish rapport (Arulanantham, 2022). This, in turn, may help to build trust. In healthcare, many perceive that treating individuals with respect will suffice and will avert most cultural problems (Galanti, 2000). However, that is not always the case. Some knowledge and understanding of cultural customs can help avoid misunderstandings and enable healthcare providers to provide better care (Galanti, 2000). This is in line with the ‘Biopsychosocial-spiritual model’ by Engel. He had stated that physicians must simultaneously attend to the biological, psychological, and social dimensions of illness, in order to better understand and respond to patients’ distress and needs (Saad, de Medeiros and Mosini, 2017). Furthermore, researchers have recognised the need to expand the model to include the spiritual dimension as well (Saad, de Medeiros and Mosini, 2017). Such a model would bring incredible transformations to the way healthcare is delivered and the approaches to treatment and care.

In line with this, to holistically care for an individual certain steps need to be taken. To create a safe and peaceful environment for both the provider and the service user/patient, culturally appropriate patient-centred care is important to improve health outcomes, especially with the ageing population. For instance, an elderly service user from a different cultural background may prefer to communicate in their native language and like eating a specific type of cuisine. Understanding these aspects may help to set up a treatment or a care plan by factoring in these preferences. When a healthcare worker provides care to our increasingly multicultural society, if the person displays cultural competence, and the ability to understand and interact effectively with people from other cultures like the elderly service user in the example, then the chances of improving health outcomes in this individual increases. Not only from a physical health point of view but also mentally. Being mentally and psychologically free from anxiety and depression, alleviated stress and good emotional well-being translates to good health and improves the service user’s experience.

At Rexshi Healthcare, we are constantly striving to understand our service users’ needs from a ‘biopsychosocial-spiritual’ perspective. All our staff are culturally competent and make efforts to build rapport with the service users to understand their needs and prioritise work accordingly. Our staff are well-trained and constantly monitored in order for you or your loved ones to experience the best of domiciliary care and healthcare. We are a healthcare agency that you can trust and rely on. If you are looking for domiciliary care or healthcare for yourself or your loved ones, look no further. Call us or send us an email to discuss our customised packages, just made for YOU.

Breaking barriers and creating access

References

Arulanantham, N., 2022. Cross-cultural communication in healthcare. [online] Christian Medical Fellowship – cmf.org.uk. Available at: <https://www.cmf.org.uk/resources/publications/content/?context=article&id=26606> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

CMelearning.com, 2022. What is Cross-Cultural Healthcare? | Critical Measures, LLC. [online] Cmelearning.com. Available at: <https://cmelearning.com/resources/what-is-cross-cultural-healthcare/> [Accessed 6 April 2022].

Galanti, G., 2000. An introduction to cultural differences. Western Journal of Medicine, 172(5), pp.335-336.

Huot, S., Ho, H., Ko, A., Lam, S., Tactay, P., MacLachlan, J. and Raanaas, R., 2019. Identifying barriers to healthcare delivery and access in the Circumpolar North: important insights for health professionals. International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 78(1), p.1571385.

Saad, M., de Medeiros, R. and Mosini, A., 2017. Are We Ready for a True Biopsychosocial–Spiritual Model? The Many Meanings of “Spiritual”. Medicines, 4(4), p.79.