Diversity and Culturally Sensitive Care

"As health care workers, we are "ethically obligated" to the provision of culturally congruent care to all individuals that enter our health care systems and facilities and all clients have the "right" to such care. The delivery of culturally congruent health care presents a challenge for the ordinary health care provider. First, it requires that we open our minds. Second, it requires an honest examination of one’s own values and beliefs, a willingness to learn, and a great deal of creativity." Reference: Jamarda Resources, Inc


Jamarda Resources, Inc. offers cultural diversity resources for health care providers. CVMC offers a link to the Jamarda Resources on-line reference manual.  This manual offers education and insight into some of the religious and cultural lifestyles of the diverse community we serve.  Here are some examples of situations where nursing might find the link to Jamarda Resources helpful.

First Scenario This patient -of Southeast Asian descent- has just passed away.  There are many visitors – friends and family- present at the time of death and you leave the room to give them some private time with the patient.  After a period of time you go into the room to check on everyone and you observe someone placing a coin into the mouth of the deceased.  You have no idea what is going on. 

Going to the  CVMC Intranet Jamarda Resources link and clicking on  Southeast Asian cultures and you find out many Asian cultures still utilize shamans and shamanic practices.   You learn that one Shamanic practice involves placing a coin in the mouth of the deceased.  It is believed that the coin helps the spirit at various stages of its’ journey into the next life. 

Second Scenario This patient presents to you for dietary counseling related to his diabetic condition.  This is not the first time you have reviewed dietary instructions with this patient.  In fact, this patient has attended numerous counseling classes and still seems to have difficulty limiting carbohydrates in his diet. 

Going to the CVMC Intranet Jamarda Resources and clicking on Basic Strategies  you learn that staple foods of an individual’s geographical origin typically are the last foods that the patient will give up.  Perhaps the staple of this patient’s diet is rice.   Perhaps this patient is a farmer and is used to potatoes and bread with each meal.  The Jamarda link provides nurses with insight into some belief systems.  This information is helpful as nursing staff and the patient work together in creating a plan of care that the patient will be more likely to comply with. 

CVMC’s new employee orientation content includes Diversity, Patient Rights, Ethics, HIPAA/Confidentiality and Corporate Compliance topics reflecting our commitment to employees and the community served. In addition to new employee orientation, all employees and volunteers were required in 2008 to complete a computerized education module on Patient Rights, Ethics and Abuse/Neglect in which Diversity is embedded in the content.