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4.2 Culturally competent health care practice with children and their families

The increasing diversity of society is especially evident among our youth. Diversity in culture and beliefs is not restricted to language, but also in culture, belief, knowledge, racial/ethnic, socioeconomic status, etc… The challenge is how to create a healthcare system in which all children and their families receive care that is safe, effective, efficient, timely and family centered, regardless of background or cultural differences.

Examples of culturally competent care: providing an environment in which the mother / child from diverse cultural backgrounds feel comfortable discussing their cultural health beliefs and practices in the context of negotiating treatment options.

There are many special health care organizations who has the aim to cultural competency in children's and family healthcare.
The NICHQ for example designed a ‘cultural competency chance model’, to help improve the quality of care provided to children and their families from diverse backgrounds.

Almost all organizations are convinced that health care organizations should implement strategies to recruit, retain, and promote at all levels of the organization a diverse staff and leadership that are representative of the demographic characteristics of the service area. The diversity of an organization’s staff is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for providing culturally competent health care services .Staff education and training are also crucial.

All organisations ( for.ex: National Centre for cultural competence; National Initiative for Children’s healthcare Quality, Cultural competency resources, etc…) provide education programs to increase the capacity of health care providers for mother and child care

Some strategies are:
  • Effective health promotion is designed, delivered, and evaluated in partnership with communities to address culturally based health beliefs, practices, credible sources of information, and organizational policy supporting cultural and linguistic competence not only helps practitioners to deliver higher quality care, but can actually impact patient outcomes including use of emergency services, adherence to treatment and satisfaction with care.( Lieu ea., 2004; Robinson ea., 2008; Colson ea., 2006 )
  • Best practices in service delivery to families of children who are disabled or at risk for disabilities have moved toward a much more family focused or family centered approach
  • Family and self-management support focuses on the need for the healthcare system to support and enable the ability of children and families to manage their own care. This includes emphasizing the family’s role in managing their child’s well-being and illness and providing support to the child so s/he is able to manage his/her care in a developmentally appropriate way.

Read more to understand the different ways to succeed in providing culturally competent health care practice with children and their family.

National Initiative for Children’s healthcare Quality, Cultural competency resources

Improving cultural competence in children’s health care: Expanding Perspectives, 2005

National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and human development.

National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care, 2001

Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with young children and their families. Lynch E. ea. ( 1992 – 2009 )

Rationale for Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Maternal and Child Health Bureau–Funded: Training Programs

National Sudden and Unexpected Infant/Child Death & Pregnancy Loss Project at the National Center for Cultural Competence Infusing Cultural and Linguistic Competence into Health Promotion Training – Video

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
Visitors of this website are welcome to use any of the materials for educational purposes as long as they clearly credit their source.