Addressing cultural health care needs

This month, the Journal partners with the Henry J.

Addressing cultural health care needs

Imagine needing medical attention in that environment. In any given setting, the inability to effectively communicate can be very limiting and stressful. In a healthcare setting — where even in the happiest of circumstances like the birth of a newborn, people are feeling anxious and vulnerable — that stress is amplified and that limitation has significant repercussions on patient safety, health outcomes, and health equity.

Whatever the patient care setting, as this country becomes increasingly diverse, health systems are encountering more and more LEP patients and families from various different cultures. Language and cultural barriers present critical challenges to both providers and patients in ensuring meaningful access [4] to quality care.

Recipients of government funding are mandated by a number of laws to provide language access to healthcare services.

Addressing cultural health care needs

The reality is that many struggle to fulfill this obligation. Our healthcare system, in its current state, is not equipped to operate in an environment where a large section of the constituency requires language assistance.

Simply scheduling an appointment can be an ordeal if you do not speak English. As part of a cultural competency audit I was conducting as a consultant on several hospitals in different states, I had to make telephone calls to these hospitals as if I was an LEP patient.

On one, where I presented myself as a Chinese-speaker, this was what ensued: My head is hurting very badly. Hospital employee answering the phone in English: Can I help you? Do you speak English?

Do — you — speak — English? My English is not good. Can you help me please? You need to speak English if you want to be in this country! Language barriers can preclude meaningful access. In egregious cases, while it is more the rarity than the norm, they face outright discrimination.

To compound an already difficult situation, trust becomes an issue. Seemingly innocuous actions like using ad hoc or untrained interpreters can and do result in patient harm.

Researchers from Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Public Health found that individuals who do not speak English at home are less likely to receive colorectal cancer screenings than those who do.

Their findings [5] demonstrate that language barriers contribute to health disparities. This has important implications. Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men, and third in women.

Examples abound of medical errors with devastating effects resulting from failure to address these barriers. That is particularly unfortunate, because these are largely avoidable risks.

One of the most in famous is the case of year old William Ramirez.Cultural competence in health care combines the tenets of patient/family-centered care with an understanding of the social and cultural influences that affect the .

to health instructions due to cultural or language preferences of some racial and ethnic groups. require going beyond the health care system and addressing the socioeconomic disparities that underscore health Reducing Health Disparities Among Children. To meet the needs of culturally diverse groups, health care providers must engage in the process of becoming culturally competent.

Cross, Bazron, (). A model and instrument for addressing cultural competence in health care. Journal of Nursing Education, 38(5), Think Cultural Health - Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact. Think Cultural Health - Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact.

Skip Navigation. "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." Martin Luther King, Jr. "He who has health, has hope. And he who has hope, has. African American health disparities and access to healthcare are among the issues concerning the health of African Americans.

Learn more. Access to care; Cultural factors; On this page, you'll find links to health issues that affect African Americans. What You Need to Know about Stroke. Health Care and Faith-Based Organizations Sharing a Legacy of Caring DEVELOPED BY: National Center for Cultural Competence Georgetown University Child Development Center together to build the bridges necessary to better address the needs of the vulnerable and underserved.

Asian American Health Initiative