Enhanced communication between providers, staff and patients helps practices work effectively and provide quality care in cross-cultural situations. An important part of this is the ability to communicate across cultures. With cross-cultural communication skills, you can better understand the needs, values, and preferences of your patients.
Here are some approaches that can help you build cross-cultural communication skills:
- Improve Cultural and linguistic appropriateness – become knowledgeable about the backgrounds of your patients;
- Gain awareness of language differences – become aware of the different expressions or idioms used or when the same word holds more than one meaning;
- Consider how you communicate in writing – if you provide written instructions to a patient, the standard words used on the forms and in patient handouts may be seen as too formal, not welcoming or too complex to understand;
- Do not make assumptions – what you may perceive as your patient’s communication style or health literacy may be incorrect.Ask your patient questions and encourage them to ask you follow-up questions;
- Avoid jargon – do not use jargon or technical health and medical terms.Instead explain terms and concepts using plain languages;
Understand and recognize differences in communication styles, both verbal and nonverbal- pay attention to your tone, volume and body language, such as posture, gesture, eye contact and facial expressions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. Both public and private hospitals and health care facilities must provide services to people with disabilities in a nondiscriminatory manner.
In order to comply with this regulation, providers may have to:
- Modify their policies and procedures
- Provide auxiliary aids and services for effective communication
- Remove barriers from existing facilities
- Follow ADA accessibility standards for new construction and alteration projects
Providing Care to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities:
Training Modules & Resources
How do Disabilities Affect Access to Health Care?
Free clinical practice tools, training material and resources
How Can Providers Improve Access to Health Care for SPDs?
- A Clinician's Handbook - Talking with your older patient. Introduction to effective communication skills that are essential in caring for older patients and their families.
- Disability Etiquette - Communication strategies when interacting with people with disabilities.