February 27, 2012
Emerging Standards of Care, page 2 Emerging standards regarding culturally competent care is very important in the health care field. Nurses need to understand and care for individuals with varying cultural beliefs and behaviors about health and well being which is shaped by race, ethnicity, nationality, language, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and occupation. Cultural competent health care is a type of care which is provided to the patient by the health care worker being responsive to varying attitudes or different attitudes and values, verbal cues, and non verbal cues of the patient (Goldsmith, 2012). Cultural competence includes understanding the individual’s needs specific to their cultural environment which can also include individuals with mental health issues. Patients with mental health issues require the nurse to be capable of providing understanding of their unique characteristics and needs. The key to cultural competence in health care includes the care provider to be aware of their own beliefs in regards to culture and to understand and appreciate the differences that we all have as members of different ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic groups. This awareness can be achieved by being in tune with your own beliefs and attitudes. This can prevent a care giver from providing different care because of assumptions, biases, and stereotypes (unknown, 2012). Although there have been many changes in the care of mental health patients the stigma of mental illness still exists and many individuals do not understand the issues which patients with mental health problems may encounter. There are five essential elements that can help an agency or institution become more culturally competent, these may include:
Emerging Standards of Care, page 3 1. The value of diversity.
2. Having the capacity for cultural self assessment.
3. The agency or care giver should be aware of the dynamics that are inherent when cultures interact. 4. Having cultural knowledge.
5. Develop and adaptation of service delivery that is capable of reflecting the understanding of cultural diversity (Hiles, 2010). Providing the individual with care that is sensitive to the individual needs of each patient and their needs according to their cultural background and environment will provide a better opportunity for the health care provided to be meaningful and successful. Home health care requires a special understanding of the patient’s culture and environment and to be accepting and understanding of the differences which may exist among the patients which are cared for by a home health agency. The home health agency which I work for serves patients with mental health issues which live in the community and other individuals that need home health care in the community. The majority of individuals which are cared for by our home health agency tend to have mental health issues as well as medical issues. The patients we care for are much more at risk due to their mental health illness and by providing them with home health services we are able to prevent them from having so many emergency room visits or hospitalizations. The agency which I work for does not currently provide cultural competency training but they do try to hire nurses with some background or understanding of mental health. Emerging Standards of Care, page 4 The company is considerate of the fact that the majority of individuals which we care for in the home health agency have mental health issues. The home health agency works with another agency which provides...