What is cultural sensitive care?

The proportion of patients and residents who are from different cultural environments is constantly increasing in hospitals, care institutions and outpatient care. Why now? One reason is the first generation of so-called foreign workers, which came to Germany in the 1950s to 1970s. Originally their stay was supposed to be temporary and the return to their home country was planned. But a lot of the foreign workers decided to stay for good and bring their families. That’s how the foreign workers became migrant workers. This generation is now at the age in which care becomes an increasingly important matter. The consequences for care, either in care institutions or out-patient care, is a progressing amount of people who wish for their cultural identity to be recognized: a cultural sensitive care.

What is cultural sensitive care?

Cultural sensitive care means that the person in need of care can live according to his/her/their individual values and cultural and religious imprint and is respectively cared and provided for. This is also valid in spite of restricting conditions like living in a care institution or outpatient care, even if the caring personnel has different cultural backgrounds.  Cultural sensitive care requires the sensible, constant and consequent recognition of cultural and migrational dimensions in the care relationship. The need for cultural sensitive care was recognized by the legislative and is established in § 1 Abs. 5 Sozialgesetzbuch (SGB) XI:

“Long-term care insurance should take into account gender differences in terms of men’s and women’s need for long-term care and their need for services and should accommodate the need for cultural sensitive care whenever possible.”

How can cultural sensitive care be implemented?

The precondition for cultural sensitive care is cultural sensitivity and intercultural competence. Cultural sensitive care requires a reciprocal intercultural learning and adjustment process among professional caregivers, those in need of care, relatives and institutions.

 

Care institutions try to adjust more and more to cultural sensitive care. This is an ongoing process, which takes place within the structural development of the institution and won’t happen overnight.

  • The first step is often to employ native speakers as caregivers. This simplifies the communication between caregivers and those in need of care and there is often a basic cultural understanding. Furthermore, employees are being trained and sensitized in cultural sensitive care.
  • A lot of care institutions are specialized on confessions. There are catholic and protestant institutions as well as Jewish and Muslim ones.
  • An increasing amount of care institutions develop care concepts, e.g., with a prayer room including a bathroom to perform wudhu or ghusl (prayer washings), a Muslim assisted living group and halal food. In doing so, residents can perform their religions and religious rituals.

Within the outpatient care, there are more and more intercultural care services especially in metropolitan regions, which are specialized on patients with different cultural and religious backgrounds. As well as in care institutions, a lot of the employees are native speakers who know about and can meet the culturally and religiously specific needs.

Where do I find cultural sensitive care?

The cultural sensitive care is a developing area. Especially in big cities and metropolitan regions there are care institutions which are already directed on this topic, as well as care services which are adjusting to the needs of people with migratory background in need of care. But a lot of those care offers are sparsely or not known. it is important to inform yourself and to ask detailed questions.

 

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