Over the next twenty years, the growth of the Hispanic populace in the US is set to double. It is therefore vital to not only improve, but also eliminate ethnic or racial disparities. In this regard, cultural competence has been highlighted as a key strategy in improving health among the Hispanic community. This is instrumental in creating a system as well as a workforce that is in a position of delivering high quality patient care. Subsequently, U.S healthcare providers, including nurses and doctors, have been crucial in delivering culturally competent care.
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Ideas of Cultural Competence
Some of the ways in which racial disparities can be eradicated in the Latino community is by augmenting linguistic as well as cultural competence. These include interventions such as making use of interpreter services, culturally competent health education and training, improvement of communication, and employing linguistically concordant staff as well as clinicians (Macdonald et al., 2007). These techniques are very effective in altering clinician as well as patient behavior. This is because it enhances confidence, expands understanding of patient’s cultural behaviors and environment, and improves the racial specific understanding of epidemiology and treatment efficiency.
By and large, cultural competence techniques are effective in understanding the behavioral changes which are vital in ministering tailored preventive care, timely health screenings, as well as early intervention and treatment. Apposite services eventually result in improved outcomes, which include better health status and satisfaction. Consequently, this is instrumental in the eradication of health disparities in the Latino community. Eventually, access to health care and quality health outcomes can be realized.
Ways of Eliminating Health Disparities
One of the ways in which health disparities can be eliminated among the Latino community is by recruiting and retaining staff who give a reflection of the demographics of the patient population (McGuire, 2012). In most cases, rapport, quality of communication, as well as the understanding of prescribed medications is adversely affected when clinicians speak a language other than their own.
Clinicians and patients are known to communicate more effectively when they belong to a similar ethnic group. This is because miscommunication occurs as a result of different cultural perspectives. In most cases, patients who see physicians from the same race rate their decision making style as more participatory and satisfying than physicians from different races. Consequently, a language match between patients and clinicians is likely to result in better-quality outcomes (Schiele, 2011).
Cultural competency training is also effective in surmounting the language and cultural barriers. This is mainly because it augments self-awareness of attitudes towards Latino community members (Macdonald et al., 2007). It also increases knowledge about them and improves specific skills like communication. In most cases, physicians are known to perceive minority patients more negatively than white patients. Consequently, such attitudes greatly influence physician behavior.
To effectively eliminate health disparities in Latino community, it is vital for medical schools to propose standards on cultural multiplicity. In this regard, medical students ought to be aware of diverse cultural health attitudes (Jenks, 2011). Additionally, they need to comprehend differing epidemiology, responses to treatment, as well as symptomatology. This is vital in being acquainted with and dealing with cultural prejudices in the provision of healthcare services.
Eliminating health disparities in Latino community also requires culturally competent health promotion. This is vital in promoting good health through healthy behaviors as well as the reduction of risks (Macdonald et al., 2007). Additionally, it also goes a long way in the early discovery as well as management of common health conditions among the Latino community which include diabetes, mental health disorders and HIV. Health promotions can take place in the form of public information campaigns as well as brief interventions.
The elimination of the major health disparities in Latino community is a severe public policy issue that necessitates compound approaches. In as much as the improvements in the socio-economic as well as the physical environment is a substantial improvement in the reduction of health disparities, culturally competent health services intervention can be very instrumental in eliminating the health disparities in Latino community.
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