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Take Action - Culturally Competent Care

Advance your organization's delivery of culturally competent care by developing your ability to care for diverse populations through these action steps.

Demonstrate courtesy and build rapport with patients from diverse cultures by using an appropriate form of address. (CLAS Standard 1). Do not assume patients wish to be addressed by their first name. Some cultures use formal forms of address and may expect to be addressed by their first surname. Consider using a formal approach until the patient communicates an address preference. To learn more about diverse cultures, read the Culture Care Connection Information Sheets listed under the "Diversity in Minnesota" menu at the left.

In some cultures, health care decisions and communication with health care providers is delegated to a spokesperson (CLAS Standard 1). Individuals serving in spokesperson roles may include a husband, community leader, traditional healer, or trusted elder. Learn how to sensitively gather information about spokesperson preferences and establish organizational documentation practices that enable staff to honor the patient’s request. Also consider documentation practices (waiver) to ensure privacy rights are addressed in interactions with the spokesperson.

Take steps to ensure your organization’s recruiting practices and interview questions strive to produce a diverse staff, reflective of the surrounding community (CLAS Standard 2). Consider working with community-based organization that offer job placement assistance and/or work with individuals from diverse populations to build job skills. Useful tools:

Create incentives and opportunities for staff to receive training that will expand their knowledge and skills in serving patients from diverse populations (CLAS Standard 3). Training may be offered in the form of in-services, conferences, online training offered through professional organizations (many which offer CME and CEU credit) as well as presentations from ethnic community leaders. Another option is to use the Culture Care Connection Training Series on the Hispanic/Latino, Somali, and Hmong cultures.

Seek out research and best practices in providing care to diverse populations and consider implications as well as opportunities for improvement within your organization (CLAS Standard 3). The body of research and documentation of best practices in cultural competency continues to evolve. Many sources offering information on the various aspects of cultural competence. Here are just a few of them: