The Emergence of Cultural Competence in Life

Categories: Cultural Competence

With our country’s demographics constantly changing, cultural competence is an important part of the formation of healthy community. Cultural competence occurs when members of a society value and respect diversity in both theory and practice. As caregivers, it is imperative that we are well-informed about the diversity of the population groups we are helping. This paper will focus on the socio economic aspect of those in poverty discussing the concepts of the different factors that affect those in poverty, the stereotypes of those in poverty, and ways healthcare professionals can utilize cultural competence when a person from low-income status.

Overall, when healthcare is made accessible to people of of all socioeconomic statuses, races, and ethnicities, there will be numerous benefits: a better experience for the patient, a more advanced workforce, and most of all, a healthier society. Keywords: cultural competence, overt cultural Competence Paper:Defining Cultural Competence and poverty in order to provide quality health care today, health care providers must be culturally competent.

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To be culturally competent means that a person “acquires the attitudes, skills, behaviors and policies that enable individuals to establish effective, interpersonal, and working relationships that go beyond cultural differences.” Essentially, this means that an organization has implemented cultural competence that displays equality and the capacity to target the patient’s exact needs while disregarding any prejudices that the provider may previously have. In the course, Cultural Diversity Healthcare, it was emphasized that patient-centered care goes hand in hand with cultural competence. In this paper, I will be applying the use of cultural competence in the community where poverty makes it difficult to get correct access to healthcare.

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With stressed-filled homes, unstable nutrition, violent environments and healthcare disparities, low-income families do not have the ability to keep up when it comes to their health. Unfortunately, poverty and poor health worldwide are connected inevitably, but that does not mean we cannot take action to change that. The main reason for poor health for many people are established in many political, social and economic discrimination. Poverty is both a cause and a consequence of poor health, and it is a vicious and constand cycle. This hardship increases the chances of illness and disease, this then in turn corners people in poverty, and keeps them there. Infectious and neglected diseases is a lethal weapon that cripples millions of the most vulnerable people each year. Factors that affect Poverty RatesPeople living towards the end of the income distribution tend to struggle the most in order to meet their basic needs on very limited incomes, even with the added assistance of government programs. Poverty is a negative, but most importantly, an independent factor, that influences an individual’s lifelong health. There are many factors that affect the poverty rates in any community.

To begin, there are increased rates of obesity among families of low-income. The cheapest food one can purchase is usually high in calories and fat. Another factor that poverty influences is stress. It can be seen that early childhood hardship and poverty is a factor that can contribute to lifelong illnesses, illnesses such as cardiac disease and diabetes. The subtle but dangerous role of stress starts early. When a child is constantly exposed stress during their childhood, their “stress system” is never really shut off. This constant high level stress leads to a higher heart rate and higher blood pressure. It is said that, “adults living in poverty, are much more likely to have inflammatory diseases,” which can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke. Another concept is that people with lower incomes experience more stress, and therefore look for ways to relieve their stress, i.e smoking or alcohol usage, increasing their risk for long-term illnesses such as liver disease, lung cancer and respiratory conditions. Furthermore, people in poverty live in more dangerous communities where there is not enough parent supervision and where crime rates are high.

Cultural Competence and its Role in Poverty Our healthcare system as well as countries with universal healthcare have been ill informed of the matter at hand. People of low-income are a whole community of people that tend to be neglected and forgotten about. In the process of acknowledging cultural competence, “understanding and addressing the social context(e.g., socioeconomic status, supports/stressors, environmental hazards)has emerged as a critical component of cultural competence.” Now, sociocultural barriers are much more, “emphasized and have been integrated into the working definition of cultural competence,” (Betancourt et.al. 2016). As healthcare providers, it is our job to know and be able to read our patients, especially those who are struggling not only physically, but financially as well. When a child from a low income family cannot make their yearly check up with their primary care doctor, we have to consider their circumstances. Does the child not have transportation available with both parents working? Or can the family not afford the copay fee for the doctors visit?

Low-income individuals are especially sensitive to even nominal increases in medical out-of-pocket costs, and modest copayments can have the effect of reducing access to necessary medical care. Another example is a middle aged man with high cholesterol and type two diabetes. He is given new medication and is told by his physician that he must start eating a much stricter diet, otherwise his side effects can worsen. Can this man afford to eat a healthier diet? Can he afford the pay for the new medication he has just been prescribed? Does he have a support system to remind him to eat better? Medical fees and copayments add to the burden on low-income adults that need to visit a health provider. The problem is even more emphasized for people living in the most devastating levels of poverty, who do not have the finances to pay for out-of-pocket medical bills. This can not only be detrimental to the parent’s health but their children as well.

This impedes from dental visits, optometrist visits, and even yearly checkups and vaccinations. Back in 1965, the first nationwide health insurance programs were launched to take action against poverty. These programs are known as Medicare and Medicaid.Changing the System Medicare provides insurance for specifically the elderly, while Medicaid provides insurance for poor children, pregnant women the disabled. This movement also inspired local health centers to expand the population of nurses, dentists, and physicians in rural and inner-city areas where medical personnel were most needed. The evidence shows in the fact that programs increased access to health care for America’s elderly and spurred major social, fiscal, and technological changes, mostly beneficial, in the entire U.S. health system. There is a stigma that the poor only have themselves to blame for the situation that they are in. This statement is simply not true. Whether a person is born into the lower class, or happened to stumble in the area due to misfortune. We all make mistakes, but the choice to stay in poverty is not always theirs.

We as providers and helpers of the community are taught to understand that from the get-go. Whatever a person’s circumstance is, it is not our job to judge whether they deserve to be treated. However it is our job to give the optimal care to every patient. We must show, “a genuine passion to be open and flexible with others,” and be able, “to accept differences and build on similarities, and to be willing to learn from others as cultural informants.” (Campinha-Bacote2002). Applying Cultural Competence and Fighting the StereotypeIn order to make an impactful, positive, change, the health professional workforce as a whole must understand the cultural context of the community they are trying to target. They must also not only be skillful, but willing to work and be open to learn new ways. The concept of cultural humility which is defined as a”lifelong process of self-reflection, self-critique, and respectful partnering with patients” (Dreachslin121).

The ability to show cultural humility provides a type of structure for healthcare providers to apply while engaging with their patients. By this, healthcare organizations must learn the community’s values and customs. Practicing cultural competence throughout this broad field will ensure that all members of a community are represented and included. It can also prevent wasteful spending on programs and services that a community can’t or won’t use. This is why understanding the needs, risk and protective factors, and potential obstacles of a community or specific population is crucial.ConclusionCultural competence is essential for treating any patient despite what their background is. Applying cultural competence can make or break a patient’s experience. “Given the strong evidence for sociocultural barriers to care at multiple levels of the health care system, culturally competent care is a key cornerstone in efforts to eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in health and health care,” (Betancourt et.al. 2016).

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The Emergence of Cultural Competence in Life. (2022, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-emergence-of-cultural-competence-in-life-essay

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