Diversity is critical for the delivery of effective healthcare. Research shows that when patients see healthcare providers who reflect their own backgrounds, they are more likely to trust their providers, leading to better communication and adherence to treatment plans.
What Is Diversity in Healthcare?
Diversity and inclusion in healthcare is:
- Giving associates and patients from all backgrounds a voice
- Providing high-quality care to all
- Understanding the diverse backgrounds, cultures, genders, religious beliefs, socioeconomic statuses, etc., of employees and patients being served.
The Impact of Cultural Competence in Healthcare
Understanding cultural differences and practicing cultural competence in healthcare is more important than ever when it comes to daily care, illness, injury, and end-of-life care. Healthcare workplaces should strive to mirror the races, ages, genders, ethnicities, and orientations of the population they serve. This will result in better care for the patients and higher employee morale.
Diversity and inclusion in healthcare results in better daily care for diverse populations. Having employees from different backgrounds ensures that whoever walks through the door can be treated by someone on staff. This team member will be able to identify with them, communicate with them, and serve their individual needs. For instance, something as small as dietary considerations may be lost on a provider who doesn’t share religious convictions or cultural backgrounds with the patient. However, a provider who does will be knowledgeable about this and be able to share advice based on their own experience.
Patients are also likely to receive better care when there is cultural diversity in healthcare. Having diverse staff members means that there is a wide range of perspectives that can lead to more creative solutions when solving problems. This could be during routine care or emergencies. New ideas and diverse perspectives lead to greater innovation and operational excellence.
Try out our Healthcare Diversity Training to empower your staff and create an inclusive workplace that supports diversity and inclusion.
Illness and Injury
Language plays a crucial role in healthcare, especially when it comes to illness and injury. Effective communication is a key marker of healthcare quality. If healthcare providers and patients do not share a language, it becomes challenging to gather information for a correct diagnosis, explain treatment strategies, ensure understanding, and make joint decisions.
Religion is yet another reason diversity in healthcare is important. Different faiths have varying opinions about daily medical procedures and end-of-life care. For example, Catholicism places importance on performing last rites, and the presence of a priest is often necessary. On the other hand, Buddhists prioritize maintaining a clear mind at the end of life to determine the type of rebirth they will experience in reincarnation. Thus, they may wish to avoid certain medications such as opioids and benzodiazepines. Their bodies should also be left undisturbed for 3 to 8 hours after breathing stops.
As a healthcare provider, it’s essential to understand and respect your patients’ spiritual beliefs. These beliefs act as guiding principles for the type of care they’d like to receive.
Diversity and inclusion in healthcare increase the quality of the care that patients receive. Healthcare teams must represent a variety of backgrounds — preferably that reflects their patients — and each team member should be given a voice to maximize innovation and creativity. Empower your team with our Healthcare DEI Training.
Explore our article: How to Improve Cultural Competence in Healthcare – 7 Tips
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