Cultural competence is a key tool for any healthcare professional to be successful. Developing an individualized plan for patients will allow them to be heard and create a more productive environment. One example could be drawn from the management of diabetes. There are many aspects of caring for a patient with diabetes to take into consideration including dietary modifications and general cultural practices. For instance, the food that a patient commonly consumes may vary from culture to culture. Oftentimes, common recommendations are communicated to patients in the form of a handout that contains generic examples of food choices that are not staples in their current diet. This could lead to the pretext of dietary acculturation and a barrier to adopt those recommendations. Communicating with patients to understand what food they commonly eat and modifying recommendations to be culturally specific may be more beneficial.1,2 Another example might be cultural occasions that impact the intake of food like Ramadan. Muslims who fast during Ramadan must abstain from eating, drinking, using oral medications, and smoking from predawn to after sunset with no restrictions on food or fluid intake between sunset and dawn. In the context of diabetes, it is particularly important to discuss with patients any specific risks associated with fasting and to provide an individualized plan for those who remain interested in participating.3 What are some experiences that you have had with providing culturally competent care and/or strategies you would recommend?
- Li-Geng T, Kilham J, McLeod KM. Cultural Influences on Dietary Self-Management of Type 2 Diabetes in East Asian Americans: A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review. Health Equity. 2020;4(1):31-42. Published 2020 Mar 18. doi:10.1089/heq.2019.0087
- Cynthia M. Goody, Lorena Drago; Using Cultural Competence Constructs to Understand Food Practices and Provide Diabetes Care and Education. Diabetes Spectr1 January 2009; 22 (1): 43–47. https://doi.org/10.2337/diaspect.22.1.43
- Al-Arouj M, Assaad-Khalil S, Buse J, et al. Recommendations for management of diabetes during Ramadan: update 2010. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(8):1895-1902. doi:10.2337/dc10-0896