Cultural Awareness

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Cultural awareness involves understanding and respecting the patient’s cultural values, beliefs, and practices.


  • Views about health
    • Some cultures attribute poor health to other reasons than just physiologic reasons: example – Many Buddhists attribute misfortune or accomplishment to actions in this or a past life.
  • Family relationships
  • Affiliations with other regions or countries
  • Food preferences
  • Religion
  • Views about birth & death

Be respectful of other views

Identify language challenges for resolution

  • The use of interpreters is often necessary, and ideally these should be of the same gender.
  • Family members or friends are sometimes used as translators, but this may result in problems (personal, sexual, etc.) not stated.
  • The use of family or friends to interpret also makes it difficult to determine if communications such as medication regimes and side effects are adequately translated.

Inquire regarding proper protocol or practices

Adjust service provision in consideration of:

  • Food preferences
  • Religious beliefs
  • Gender or authority
  • Socioeconomic considerations
  • Client requests