Unfortunately, working conditions, living conditions, and quality healthcare access are not available to everyone. This creates a huge challenge for the healthcare community. However, they can use cultural competence to address inequities for people who are from different races and who are culturally diverse. Cultural competence is designed to address these disparities and make sure that everyone is able to get the care they need.
Cultural Competence in Health Care
Cultural competence in health care is a method where diverse groups of patients receive effective, quality health care. It doesn’t matter what their beliefs or behaviors are, and they are able to address linguistic and cultural differences. Cultural conditions can impact the following:
- The way patients seek care
- How they perceive health conditions
- Their preferences for treatment
- Their expectations
- Their willingness to follow recommendations
- Who they want to help them make decisions
Originally, cultural competence was designed to meet the needs of people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, but now it refers to people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, and people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
Why Is Cultural Competence Necessary?
Communication can be lacking from certain healthcare providers, which can affect how patients decide what treatments to have. It is easy for a clinician to misinterpret a patient who simply doesn’t understand what he or she is saying. Developing cultural competence requires making an effort to make sure that patients understand their options and can make an informed decision about their treatment.
Cultural Competence Needs to Be Combined with Cultural Humility
It isn’t enough to understand cultural differences; it is important to recognize that people are unique individuals, and they may not fit into a mold. Cultural humility means that clinicians understand that people from other cultures may have biases against other cultures as well. It is a matter of reflecting on their own behavior and beliefs and learning about any biases that they may have lurking inside.
The goal is to eliminate the barriers that prevent patients from getting quality health care. The population is increasingly diverse, and the healthcare community needs to be able to address the needs of all patients. They need to deliver equitable care that is effective, respectful, and understandable.