In reality, all health care professionals should enhance cultural competence in their practice. As some patients possibly will come from a sidelined group, the medical practitioner should always handle them with due care and avoid discrimination centered on any grounds. In a recent interview, with an elderly patient called Mr. Smith, he explained to me his medical cultural beliefs and practices, perceptions of his health needs and health care professionals.
Elderly patients have different cultural beliefs and practices that affect their perceptions of health care needs, health care professionals and the way they view their access to medical care. The cultural beliefs and practices arise when the patient comes up with their own ideologies based on religion and culture to explain the cause and treatment of a given disease. According to Mr. Smith, he always associated his joint pains and ailments with old age, because most of his age mates complain of similar symptoms. His belief is that he should not seek medical attention whenever he experiences such signs. Alternatively, he uses painkillers to soothe the pain.
As Loue & Sajatovic (2008), explain how elderly patients do not look after their health needs as being a necessity as it requires the expenditure of a lot of money. Mr. Smith also does not see the reason behind why he has to waste time in seeking treatment, for an ailment that could easily subsidize once he swallows barely the painkiller tabs. Besides the fears, he has that a health care consultant would come up with other diseases rather than what he believes to be only a minor ailment makes him shy away from hospital visits. Mr. Smith is comfortable, as he does not have to worry of his health, and the medical cost related as he can manage it on his own.
Mr. Smith perceives health care professionals as individuals who find the elderly difficult to handle due to their medical complexity. For this reason, Smith does not like going to the health care center when it is not critical to do so. Alternatively, when he is sees that there is no change, he visits a private medical practitioner who will attend to him patiently. This is because he believes the medical practitioner is more understanding and patient while attending to him.
Walton (2011) assesses the necessity of nurses avoiding stereotyping their clients while focusing on their different cultures. For this reason, nurses have to understand individual perceptions and ideas that vary based on their cultural beliefs and practices. In many instances, cultural concepts are usually more rigid. This gives a hard time for the nurse while handling the patient and the only way to avoid stereotyping patients is by approaching the patients with an open mind. Nurses can only be open to the different cultures by being culturally aware of the different beliefs and practices of the clients as they handle in the health care facility.
As elderly patients, do not acknowledge the importance of taking proper care of their health as they attain their old age. Health care personnel should ensure that the health services of the elderly are made more accessible and affordable in order to attract more elderly patients. Respect, understanding, and patience are entirely what the elderly patients require as they get medical attention. Therefore, the nurses should carry out assessment and intervention activities to help them appreciate the significance of appropriate medication. As Chambers & Thompson (2009) advocate for the use of the empowerment model the nurses should practice it on the elderly Empowerment model will give the nurses a chance to reach out to the elderly and advise them on the benefits of health care consultation, especially during their prime of life.
Without doubt, the medical personnel can play a key role in assisting patients with cultural beliefs and practices focusing on access treatment. Medical practitioner should handle all the patients equally irrespective of their perception of being members of marginalized groups. Nurses should focus on being more understanding, and as a result, health care will be redefined as an institution that offers medication to all individuals irrespective of their differences.