Culturally responsive services in aged care environments

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Since 2011 there has been an increase in the number of Western Australians who have one or both parents born overseas 2016 (53.8 per cent), 2011 (51.7 per cent), this impacts on the potential increase of the number of seniors these days who are from diverse cultural backgrounds. According to the Centre for Cultural Diversity one in three people in aged care services across Australia were born overseas.

We are all cultural beings, a ‘one size fits all’ approach in aged care is not effective.

Delivering culturally responsive and appropriate care and services in an aged care context can be complex depending on an individual’s specific care needs. The focus should be on seeing the individual as unique and identifying, maintaining and encouraging cultural identity and knowledge.

Culturally responsive care can be defined as the ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, in a manner that acknowledges their worth and preserves the dignity of individuals, families, and communities.[i]

Culturally responsive services should have the following characteristics:

  • The knowledge to make an accurate assessment that takes into consideration an individual’s language, background and culture.
  • The ability to communicate that assessment to the individual in a language that they understand and in a way that recognises the individual’s culture-based beliefs about health and lifestyle, and to create care plans which respect those beliefs.
  • Willingness to incorporate models of health and health care delivery from a variety of cultures.
  • Acknowledgement of a culture’s effect on health and wellbeing outcomes and must be willing to learn more about this powerful interaction.
  • Increase staff access and their ability to be more culturally responsive in providing culturally appropriate care.

A successful provider of culturally responsive and appropriate services in the aged care sector, actively supports their staff to demonstrate positive, friendly, attentive, empathic and helpful behaviour. Staff who are acutely aware of their own cultural background and any cultural bias’ that they may have are able to recognise gaps in their cultural knowledge and better understand and empathise with an individual’s cultural needs.

As the state representative for Partner’s in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) we offer a range of services including training to help you and your organisation become more culturally responsive. To find out more about PICAC please visit: https://www.fortisconsulting.com.au/partners-in-culturally-appropriate-care/

 

[1] Minnesota Public Health Association, (2000): Six steps towards cultural competence

[ii] The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners: Respectful and Culturally Appropriate Care, Standard 2.1

[i] Minnesota Public Health Association, (2000): Six steps towards cultural competence

[ii] The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners: Respectful and Culturally Appropriate Care, Standard 2.1