The nature of cross-cultural care

The nature of cross-cultural care is based on the assumption that the client and the professional helpers are of different cultural backgrounds.

When you are working with others, clients or colleagues, it is important to recognize that the world is seen through cultural lenses that have been acquired over time. When these lenses are similar to those worn by clients, or colleagues, your point of reference will be more alike than if the second individual is from a very different ethnic or cultural background. Sensitive cross-cultural care and communication depends on recognizing that there are differences to explore and that our own biases can unfairly influence the lives of others. The objective of cross-cultural care and communication must be to examine our own biases. Investigate another’s point of view, and develop sensitive strategies for communication and caring that will promote self-discovery and enrichment for both.

A primary goal of multicultural sensitivity is to develop positive Multicultural Sensitivity t attitudes about people who are different from ourselves.

Multicultural sensitivity requires an understanding of one’s own culture. Including an awareness of personal beliefs and values. With an awareness of your ethno cultural values and beliefs, it is essential to put these biases aside and respect that your client may have a different point of view. Once this has been accomplished, emphasis can be placed on providing appropriate and sensitive cultural care. You then can move away from just provision of service and place an emphasis on “care”. Multicultural sensitivity thus focuses on understanding ‘me’ first – then developing a flexible attitude that permits me to understand you.

If you want to examine this further, test yourself by asking, “Do I always select words that are appropriate in a multicultural environment?” “Does my vocabulary reflect latent or overt prejudices?” Think about some examples of the expressions and the words you use. Then ask yourself if they would be regarded as “politically correct” or culturally sensitive. We Believes that we do not always realize how insensitive we are until we make a conscious effort to observe ourselves. And then others. We has developed a wide variety of exercises to assist health and social service practitioners explore cultural sensitivity further. If you would like to engage in a variety of interactive


When many of today’s senior citizens were young they were taught to address adults by using their surname, along with their respective title (e.g. – Mr., Mrs., Dr., or Miss), as a sign of respect. In fact, many adults commonly addressed other adults by using their surnames. Throughout the past two or three decades this practice has become quite relaxed in Canada.

Today, it is not uncommon for practitioners to refer to their clients by their first name. Older adults who believe that their surname should be used when they are addressed may regard the use of their first name as disrespectful. Young practitioners who are in doubt about how to address seniors are encouraged to consider using the senior’s surname, unless, or until, they are told to use the client’s first name. For many seniors, this is a sign of respect.

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