Cultural competence in health care refers to the ability of the health care system to deliver quality cross-cultural healthcare services to all patients, irrespective of diverse beliefs, values, and behaviors. The goal of cultural competence in healthcare provision is to reduce disparity in health care and provide optimal healthcare needs for patients regardless of racial diversity, background, language, and cultural and religious beliefs. According to Truong, Paradies, and Priest (2014), cultural competence in care delivery involves the adequate and effective provision of appropriate health care through continuous learning and development of relevant healthcare skills. Thus to provide quality care, the health care system must adopt cultural competence through continuous nurse training and the adoption of cross-cultural healthcare policies. The article selected is entitled “Caring for Latino patients” by Juckett (2013). The Latino community has diverse healthcare needs due to their native culture, literacy level, and beliefs. Several obstacles that hinder the delivery of quality care to the Latino community include cultural diversity, poverty, language barrier, and cultural beliefs. Therefore, this essay highlights the healthcare needs of Latinos and examines approaches to delivering culturally competent health care to the Latino community. The elements for achieving culturally competent care among Latinos include valuing diversity, incorporating family decisions, understanding of Latino’s special health concerns, and enhancing communication.
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Valuing Diversity and Cultural Beliefs
The Latino community is a diverse population with different nationalities of origin and social formations of age, class relations, and gender. The wide composition of heterogeneous races complicates the social needs of the ethnic group given different cultural beliefs, language nuances, social values, and literacy levels. To provide culturally competent health care to the Latino community, Juckett (2013) recommends healthcare providers to develop an understanding of the various elements of diversity that set health beliefs and perceptions of conventional medicine. Douglas et al. (2014) argue that enhancing the understanding of cultural diversity and beliefs of the Latino community by healthcare providers enhances culturally competence in the delivery of care to the Latino ethnic group. Thus, knowledge of the diverse Latino ethnic group cultures informs healthcare providers of the right steps to take in understanding the conditions and needs of Latino patients.
Some of the cultural beliefs of Latinos on an individual state of health include the strong association of health with the influence of supernatural powers. This belief denies the contribution of individual habits to health problems. In this view, healthcare providers face great challenges regarding self-care instructions related to drug prescriptions or lifestyle changes in the delivery of care. Additionally, the cultural set-up and literacy level of the Latinos limits their understanding of health problems. A significant proportion of the population believes in folk medicine and views other health problems that include obesity as good health (Juckett, 2013). In respect to this belief, Latinos rely on folk medicine as the primary source of health care intervention before seeking conventional medicine. Healthcare providers should, therefore, assess and consider the influence of these beliefs on conventional medicine in care delivery and strike a balanced approach to increase corporation of the community and improve the quality of care provided. Therefore, the health care system and healthcare providers must value and incorporate knowledge of diversity in the delivery of care to Latinos.
Incorporating Family Decision in Care Delivery
The family unit is an essential component in decision making among the Latino population. The culture of the Latino community demands individual loyalty to the family. The social relationship set-up of the Latino community places much concern on family needs above individual needs. The family unit among the Latino community serves as a primary voice for the patients, and thus, healthcare providers must understand the influence of the family unit in enhancing patient’s dignity, social care, and cultural rights. Davidson et al. (2015) argue that the incorporation of the family unit in inpatient healthcare decision making improves access to sensitive cultural information significant in enhancing the delivery of quality health care. Family involvement promotes information sharing that helps healthcare providers in making relevant decisions pertinent to the delivery of patient care.
In this view, incorporating the patient’s family in the decision-making process enhances the perception of conventional medicine, family psychological state, and patient social support in the recovery process and promotes the observance of self-care instructions. Juckett (2013) holds that the family’s ability to influence a patient’s decision significantly affects the accessibility of quality care by the population. Healthcare providers must, therefore, strive to build a close and positive rapport with Latino patients’ families to promote family support on individual access and adherence to conventional medicine. Additionally, engaging the family unit in the decision-making process over patient care promotes information exchange and enhance the development of relevant cultural interventions on best standards of practice that lead to improved quality of care. For that reason, given the complex steps and relevant bodies involved in the decision-making process, healthcare personnel must follow these steps in the delivery of care to reduce patient and community objection of conventional medicine and improve the quality of care.
Understanding Latino’s Special Health Concerns
The health concerns of the Latino community include a combination of the inability to access health insurance cover, genetic, and lifestyle factors. Most Latinos live below the world poverty line and have problems affording health insurance, doctor and hospital bills, and prescription medicine. The expensive medical services make it hard for the Latino community without insurance cover access to conventional medicine and rely on folk medical services. The condition thus influences the community’s cultural beliefs and perception of state facilitation of conventional medicine. Latinos feel socially alienated and hindered from accessing quality health care due to their economic conditions, discriminatory billing, and language barriers (Sobel & Sawin, 2014). In this case, the Latino community lacks the potential to access adequate health care from the state hospitals making them rely on traditional medicine.
Additionally, the community’s cultural beliefs and literacy influence their perception of some health conditions that include obesity and diabetes. The population literacy is low, and most Latinos view obesity as a sign of good health. The low literacy level and wrong perception of health conditions make it hard for the Latino community to access quality care. Lifestyle and genetic factors also contribute to health problems among the Latino population. Thus, understanding the needs of the Latino population is essential in developing the approaches that inform and promote the advancement of healthcare practice, program planning, and research to improve healthcare delivery to the community. Healthcare providers should understand the special health care needs of Latinos and develop competent cultural care policies to enhance the community’s understanding of best practices and access quality health care.
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As the Latinos comprise an ethnic community immigrant to the United States, most of them speak Spanish and their native language associated with their place of origin. The Latino community faces great challenges in accessing quality care due to the language barrier with the English proficient care providers (Juckett, 2013). Thus, Latinos with limited understanding of English are at risk of receiving less than optimal health care and preventive services. Effective communication is essential in providing the right health care to patients and families. Douglas et al. (2011) argue that the development of effective communication infrastructure is an essential component in the delivery of quality care to patients in any healthcare organization. Thus, the provision of quality care services involves enhanced communication to clients using tailored healthcare education materials, effective nurse-patient communication, and use of language signage in a hospital setup.
Moreover, the introduction of staff interpreters is essential in improving the quality of care to patients. Most patients’ relatives may lack adequate medical knowledge to understand the provider’s medical instructions offered to patients (Juckett, 2013). In this case, wrong interpretation impairs the delivery of appropriate and quality care services to Latino patients. Therefore, developing culturally competent care requires the incorporation of a staff interpreter with adequate medical understanding and good knowledge of native Latino patient language to facilitate care delivery.
The Latino community has diverse healthcare needs due to their diverse cultures, literacy level, and beliefs. Several obstacles hinder the delivery of quality care to the Latino community. These obstacles include cultural diversity, poverty, language barrier, and cultural beliefs. The delivery of quality care to the Latino community is an ethical and policy requirement of the healthcare providers. Healthcare providers face great challenges in the delivery of quality care to the Latino community. To achieve this goal, healthcare providers must seek to reduce the effect of culture, language barrier, and perception on conventional medicine and develop culturally competent care for the Latino population. Overall, developing culturally competent care for the Latino community involves valuing their diversity in cultural beliefs and medical practices, incorporating family decisions, enhancing communication, and understanding Latino’s special healthcare concerns. Thus, culturally competent care involves reduced disparity in health care and the provision of optimal healthcare needs for patients, regardless of racial diversity, background, language, and cultural and religious beliefs.
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Truong, M., Paradies, Y., & Priest, N. (2014). Interventions to improve cultural competency in healthcare: A system review of reviews. Health Services Research, 14(99), 1-17. Web.