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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Cultural Competency in Nursing Homes

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the different questions to see the answers.

Q – What does cultural competency care mean to care providers?

A – A care provider demonstrates high cultural competency skills when they show appreciation for similarities and differences in various cultures.

Q – How does a care provider work to dispel stereotypes?

A – Care providers who engage in self-reflection, learn about various cultures, and participate in gatherings of groups with many cultures, are more likely to avoid using stereotypes.

Q – What is a simple action that can be used with a resident to show care and appreciation?

A – A smile is usually returned with a smile.

Q – What is one of the ways to value a resident's view of his/her illness?

A – It's important to ask the resident his/her view about the illness?

Q – What are some ways to gather information about the resident?

A – Whenever you can, speak slowly to the resident, probe for more information and never make assumptions about cultural values. If care providers do not speak the same language as the resident, then professional interpreters should be used. Care providers should hesitate in using family members.

Q – How can a care provider demonstrate active listening skills?

A – The care provider should paraphrase what the resident says.

Q – What are some qualities that show cultural sensitivity?

A – Some qualities that show cultural sensitivity are: caring, openness, respect, acceptance, patience and empathy.

Q – What are some ways the nursing home as an organization can improve cultural competency care?

A – Some suggestions are: discussing culture as part of treatment for resident, offer options for food, music, and media, develop close relationships with family members, decorate bulletin boards that reflect the various cultures, seek to have staff represent the various ethnic groups.

Q – How does a care provider become more self aware of how his/her actions affect others?

A – Development of self-awareness guides the care provider to assess feelings of prejudice and discrimination; some strategies are: practice assertiveness and sensitivity, maintain a healthy sense of humor, keep a diary or notes on work experiences, stay in touch with your own feelings and get away from a difficult situation to remain calm.

Q – How can a care provider demonstrate high cultural competency skills?

A – Cultural competency skills are practiced continually. When staff values differences, appreciates similarities, and becomes informed about cultural health beliefs and traditions, there's improved relationships between care provider and resident. The ultimate goal is to bring about a sense of community in the facility.

Q – What are some effective methods to communicate to residents?

A – The care provider should use multiple methods including: non-verbal techniques, such as appropriate touch; paraphrase what is said, consult with family members and supervisors.

Q – Why should a care provider know a variety of health beliefs?

A – The care provider is a professional and having knowledge about health beliefs allows for better coordination with resident, family members and health service team. It also improves understanding between the resident and care provider and can help to end the continuation of stereotyping residents.