Multicultural health care centres aim at providing health services to patients with diverse cultures. This article discusses a few considerations that those who work at medical centres should make when providing health services to people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
Medical personnel should not assume that every patient is proficient in the dominant language. If you notice that the client has limited knowledge of the language that you speak, talk slowly to ensure that he or she understands what you are saying. Shouting will make the patient feel patronised and uncomfortable. In severe circumstances, medical centres may need to hire interpreters to facilitate communication between staff and clients.
Learn about the patient.
Medical decisions and treatment plans must be customised to the patient's lifestyle. As such, once a patient visits the medical centre, try to get as much information as you can about the patient's culture and background. For instance, ask the patient about his or her diet before recommending a low carb or fat diet.
Balancing patient and staff attitudes.
Patients may have poor attitudes towards the hospital system due to bad experiences in the past. On the other hand, many medical personnel believe they provide the best service to their clients. To create a balance between the two, you need to create a friendly atmosphere when communicating with your patients. It would be worthwhile to introduce yourself and explain your various interventions. Also, avoid pushing your beliefs and expectations on your clients. Give the patient freedom of choice regarding treatment. For example, inquire if they want pills or an injection. Some cultures do not allow body piercings; hence patients may be against injections.
Healthcare providers must be gender sensitive when dealing with culturally diverse patients. For instance, female patients may not be comfortable consulting with a male doctor on matters regarding sexuality, urological, and gynaecological problems. If the facility does not have a female doctor to attend to female clients, you may ask the patient to bring their spouse during the examination. Men from patriarchal communities may have problems taking advice from female doctors. As such, they would want a male doctor attending to them.
Staff should have regular community outreach programs to build healthy relationships with the community. This would go a long way in changing perceptions regarding the healthcare system and creating a positive image of medical personnel. Such programs would also help staff to get a better understanding of the local cultures.
When providing health services to culturally diverse patients, initiate proper communication channels, learn about the patient, balance your attitudes, and be gender sensitive.