Culture language and the doctor patient relationship

Culture, language, and the doctor-patient relationship.

culture language and the doctor patient relationship

Original publication details: Ruth Macklin, “The Doctor–Patient Relationship in Different Cultures,” pp. 86– from patients, it is not rooted solely in the cultural value of .. English language: In its political sense, autonomy means. “ self‐rule”. The doctor–patient relationship is a central part of health care and the practice of medicine. Historically in many cultures there has been a shift from paternalism, the view that the "doctor always knows best," to . An example of how body language affects patient perception of care is that the time spent with the patient in the. Culture, language, and the doctor-patient relationship. Warren J. Ferguson University of Massachusetts Medical School, [email protected] .org.

When medicine and culture intersect

Culture may influence, for example, beliefs about what causes disease, whether to engage in certain health promotion activities or seek advice regarding health concerns, as well as whether treatment options are followed. Culture can also impact a patient's approach to attending medical appointments in a timely manner. Culture can also influence eating and fasting rituals, even when nourishment is vital to recovery and overall function.

culture language and the doctor patient relationship

It can also play a role in the level of family influence in patient care decisions. Gender differences in a given culture may also affect health and patient outcomes. While it is common to speak of cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity, physicians and other providers are increasingly recognizing the importance of cultural competence and providing cultural safety to patients.

Culture and physicians' care While physicians have a duty of care based on the physician-patient relationship, a physician's culture and beliefs may impact their ability to respond to certain requests for care in elective situations. Physicians must not discriminate against patients on grounds such as gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation among other factorshowever they may refer patients to another doctor if they feel it is in the patients' medical interest.


Cultural competence Doctors who use their knowledge and skills to provide effective healthcare for patients of diverse cultural backgrounds are said to be culturally competent. Competence requires a blend of knowledge, conviction, and a capacity for action. Clinical cultural competence includes being aware of a patient's and one's own socio-cultural background and using skills and strategies that focus on culturally appropriate healthcare interventions.

Demonstrating understanding and responsiveness to different values and beliefs. Working collaboratively with people from diverse populations in a respectful manner. Adopting inclusive medical practices. This implies that culturally safe knowledge and behaviour should be actively encouraged within institutions.

culture language and the doctor patient relationship

For example, organizations should promote values, principles, and structures to work cross-culturally; recognize and respect the cultural contexts of the communities served; and systematically involve patients, families, and communities in care.

Strategies to enhance clinical cultural competence among physicians include discussing these matters during trainee orientation, medical grand rounds, interprofessional departmental rounds, and in dedicated workshops. Information and presentations should be tailored to the culture-related issues pertaining to particular medical specialties such as emergency, pediatrics, palliative care, and so on. Cultural safety Cultural safety builds on the concepts of cultural awareness, sensitivity, and competence, but goes one step further.

Communicating Across Cultures | College of Optometrists of Ontario

Cultural safety is achieved by building relationships that focus on increasing the opportunities and choices of individuals, groups, and communities to access healthcare.

In many cases, both the healthcare provider and the patient need to understand and consider each other's diversity. A physician who embraces a culturally safe practice keeps different perspectives in mind when providing treatment to patients.

This means reflecting on the information obtained about individuals in their care as well as their own cultural background. Translating this knowledge into specific actions and practices will enhance the quality and safety of medical care. Physicians may also need to model and encourage this approach in team-based care settings.

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As in any evaluation of healthcare quality, the person receiving medical care is the one who decides whether it was, in fact, culturally safe. It may be best to limit physical contact with patients to conducting examination procedures.

Consider using a professional interpreter in situations where there is a significant language barrier. Recognize that patients who do not look you in the eye or ask questions about treatment are not necessarily disinterested. Consider that patients may hold different beliefs regarding health, illness and illness prevention. Adopt a line of questioning that will help them express these beliefs.

Be conscious that patients who believe that an illness has been caused by embrujado bewitchmentthe evil eye, or punishment, may not take any responsibility for their cure. Belief in the supernatural may cause patients to resist medical advice or treatment.

Doctor–patient relationship

Allow patients to be open and honest about their use of complementary and alternative medicine techniques. The following questions will help to explore this issue: Be sensitive in relating bad news or explaining the details of complications that may result from a particular course of treatment. Patients from Western culture often will want to make decisions for their own care after being informed about all of their options.