As a medical centre, you will always be aiming to provide the very best care to all of your patients. This can be a little more challenging when patients are from a variety of cultural backgrounds. You will need to provide care that is culturally sensitive, especially when your patients are elderly. If this describes your medical centre and you want to know what steps you can take to provide high-quality multicultural health care, read on.
If Your Budget Allows, Offer Linguistic Support
If your budget allows for an interpretation service, providing an interpreter will make treatment easier for the patient. It will also make consultations and care provision easier for you and your staff. If you have a limited budget for such services, then engaging volunteers is another way to go. Ask people from local multicultural communities to offer a few hours a week. Volunteers will not only help with linguistic support for patients, but they will also be able to give you and your staff the opportunity to learn a little about the cultural traditions of your patients.
Always Communicate With Compassion
It's important to know the power that traditions and beliefs can have in a person's life. Tradition may also shape a patient's communication. For example, a nod of the head may not always mean agreement—a nod may simply be used to acknowledge what is being said. It is important to keep communication simple so as to avoid misinterpretation and confusion. Learning a few keywords in the languages of your patients may help with better communication in the absence of relatives or translators.
Whenever Possible, Involve Relatives
Frequently, younger relatives will be able to communicate in English far better than their elderly relatives. Where possible, collaborate with relatives and ask for their advice and involvement with any decisions that need to be made. They will better understand how to develop a care plan that will be compatible with any cultural and community affiliations.
Show Interest and Empathy for Your Patient's Culture
While there will always be differences across cultures, there will also be many similarities. Focussing on the similarities will help you to build the bond of trust you need to provide help and care. Always be willing to explore any issues from your patient's cultural point of view.
Be Mindful of Bias and Prejudice
Prejudice can be prevalent in many societies. Be mindful that bias and discrimination may exist in people without them even knowing that they hold such views. Try to be aware of this so that you can cultivate a caring environment with compassion and tolerance.