Cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups
Access to and effective engagement with health services by CALD individuals and communities may be impeded by their lack of familiarity with the health system, and lack of consideration of the health and spiritual beliefs of different cultures.27
Cultural safety extends beyond cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity and has at its core the experience of the person receiving care.28 Cultural safety principles aim to ensure:
- individuals receive care that meets their cultural needs and promotes feelings of being safe28, 29
- individuals are not afforded less favourable outcomes because they hold a different cultural outlook29
- care provided is respectful towards culture29
- there is no assault, challenge or denial of an individual’s identity, of who they are and what they need.30
A culturally safe approach to care requires health professionals to:
- be aware and mindful of their personal attitudes and values towards gender, race, religion and sexuality
- be self-aware and reflect on their practice
- understand post-colonisation
- apply the principles of effective communication and be aware of different styles of communication
- be inclusive
- act respectfully to empower individuals29
- promote shared respect, meaning, knowledge and experiences.30
Unsafe cultural practice occurs when actions diminish, demean or disempower the cultural identity of an individual.29
The PCC4U project is acknowledged as the author of the above content. PCC4U is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aging.
Three steps towards cultural safety
Developing culturally safe practice requires the capacity to make adjustments to services that accommodate culturally different needs. The process of developing culturally safe practices requires the participation of individuals and organisations in three broad steps:31
Step 1: Cultural consciousness or awareness of the constructs of one's own culture and recognition of unique and similar qualities of other cultural groups. Engagement with minority cultural groups is imperative to the process of cultural consciousness and building collaborative cancer control programs.
Step 2: Cultural appraisal or assessment to identify cultural domains of difference that need to be considered in the plan of person-family centred cancer care.
Step 3: Cultural safety skill development of appropriate behaviours, attitudes, and communication strategies that reduce the gap of inequities in cancer outcomes.
Cancer Australia. (2018) EdCaN module: head and neck cancer.
Describe strategies you can use to avoid stereotypes and ensure that you apply the principles of cultural safety to every individual in your care.
Watch Mrs Li’s story: symptoms and complete the following learning activities:
- Reflect on the family relationships and cultural background within the case study, and explain how you would develop an understanding the implications of Mrs Li's beliefs, values and customs in planning her care.
- If Mrs Li was admitted to your health facility, describe how you would ensure access to an appropriate interpreter service.