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Cultural Diversity in Health Care Essay Sample

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  • Category: Health care medicine

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Introduction of TOPIC

This tool is a helpful way to evaluate a person as a whole because it reflects on the individual’s cultural background and ethnicity. The questions were focused on how the individual grew up as a child; progressing to adulthood and the age he/she came to the United States. This is a very important question to incorporate in the study matter because it shows how long the individual practiced the kind of culture that he/ she was in. Closeness of family kin is also an important determinant in shaping the individual’s values and behaviors. Having family members around while growing up and having the same religion reinforces the individual’s beliefs, practices, and diets. Religion also plays a role in the community by means of sharing knowledge in accordance with the bible. Holiday celebrations, festivities and church gatherings are avenues that invite family members to share customs and practices. Food preferences and choices also depend on the environment where the individual resides. For example, most Asians were accustomed to eating rice because it is a grain that grows abundant in that part of the world. Native language is also a basis of social identity. An individual is more likely to have more interaction with the same people who speaks the same native language. Comparisons of Differences in the Meaning of Health

African-American family
Health Maintenance:
In an African perspective, health is seen as harmony of body, mind and soul with nature. Illness happens when the balance is disturbed and a cure is needed to restore this harmony. Health Protection:

This includes wearing of charms and amulets. This can be a silver dime (believed to turn black if there is impending harm); an amulet of asafetida, which appears like rotten flesh and resembles a dried-out sponge that can be worn around the neck (believed to protect against contagious diseases); and silver bracelets (believed to provide early warning of an illness in which the skin around it will turn black). Health restoration:

An event like illness is seen as either natural or unnatural. Natural illness happens when a person fails to manage or oversee the body processes properly. The body is seen as under prepared with the forces of the nature. Examples such as the overuse of laxatives to help expel dirt (which is believed to be associated with germs that circulate in the body via the blood) from the body, and eating of clay when pregnant is believed to be beneficial in both mom and unborn baby (believed to be rich in iron). Unnatural illnesses are caused by evil influences (God’s withdrawal if a person fails to amend His way) or even sorcery (voodoo). Supernatural healers (selected by God at birth) are believed to be the only one who can treat unnatural (magical) illnesses. Voodooists are known for reading animal bones. The patient arranges the bones on the floor and the voodooist interprets it and linked it to the physical traits or body parts of that patient. Asian-American family

Health Maintenance:
Most Asians define health based on the harmonious balance of forces between the yin (cold) and yang (hot). Illness is seen as the imbalance of these two forces. Lowering the strong trait and increasing the weak trait can achieve cure. Health Protection:

Asians believe that ancestors are links to religion and belief system. This also relates to how they approach health, illness and cures. Colorful and decorative altars with fruit and flower offerings in Asian homes symbolizes honor to those ancestors, who are asked to look after the members of the fa

mily, prevent and cure illness. Religion also plays a big role in the Asian culture. A typical Asian

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asks God for protection and guidance in his/her daily life. Health restoration:

Over its 2500 years of development, a wealth of experience has accumulated in the practice of acupuncture, attesting to the wide range of diseases and conditions that can be effectively treated with this approach (WHO, 2002). Acupuncture is done to treat the excess of yang (hot) and to establish the balance between yin (cold) and yang (hot). This involves application of nine needles to specific meridian points in the body. Qi (which is known in Chinese as an energy flow) flows through the meridians or acupuncture points and the blood that flows through the vessel are the fundamental factors that is involve in the harmonious/disharmonious states in the body. Blood that is believed to be controlled by the heart, guided by the spleen, and stored in the liver and Qi, which includes all the organs but have connections with the liver, lungs and spleen. In terms of a broken bone or disease, it is said that Qi flow is disrupted and with acupuncture at the meridians will allow the force to flow again. Herbs (which is a traditional medicine in all Asian culture) are also use in a form of tea, soups, slush or other drinks to help cure certain diseases. Hispanic family

Health Maintenance:
Hispanic family sees good health as a blessing that can change anytime. They see an ill person may be an innocent victim of circumstances and may do little action to get back to being healthy again. Illness is seen as a result of negative forces from nature or as a punishment for misbehavior. Having balance and harmony with the surroundings is also essential for health and wellbeing. Imbalance will also result to illness. Health Protection:

Wearing special earrings, necklace, amulets or other jewelry can provide protection against the mal de ojo (evil eye). “ ‘Mal de ojo’ or ‘evil eye,’ is a folk illness primarily affecting children, with infants being particularly vulnerable” (Medical Spanish, 2013). A spell usually cast on the child (without touching it) by a person staring with an evil eye because of admiration or envy. Treatment includes prayer while applying a mixture of eggs, lemon and bay leaves all over the child’s body. This treatment is also used to diagnose mal de ojo, which is also called limpia in Mexico and barrida in Puerto Rico. Health restoration:

Curanderismo is a term referring to the Spanish word curar, meaning ‘to heal’, which is a traditional healing practice in Hispanic culture (Trotter and Chavira, 1997). It is involved in healing the physical, social, psychological and emotional illnesses. Practitioners like curandero (male) or curandera (female), and maybe part of the extended family, is believed that healing ability is a gift from the higher power or sometimes some rely on picture of saints, crosses and holy water to support his/her healing power. Curanderos are composed of different specialties. Examples are, Sovodor (male “curandero”) who heals through a massage, partera (midwife) who specialized in birthing, senora (female “curandera”) who reads tarot cards, santero or espiritismo also known as religious healer and yerbero (male “curandero) are herbalist that heals using botanical remedies. Common Health Traditions in Philippines

Traditionally, Filipinos view diet as an important aspect of health and wellbeing. At first glance a typical Filipino’s overall health and wellbeing is determined by the size and mass of a person. A slightly overweight person in U.S. standards is considered healthy and a skinny structured body is considered malnourished in the Philippines. A skinny or “malnourished” person is often considered unhealthy or sickly and is encouraged to eat more. When it comes to curing certain illnesses, a person’s diet is considered the starting point in restoring health. Like the majority of Asians, Filipinos base his/her remedies on balancing Yin and Yang in the body. Introducing hot food or beverages to a person suffering from colds and cough to (in essence) balance the body’s harmony is a typical tradition in Filipino culture. During recovery from an illness, Filipinos avoid taking baths to prevent upsetting the body temperature balance. Family Health Intervention in the Philippines

Filipinos view families as central to all aspects of recovery when sick. When a family member is sick either in a hospital or at home, other family members (immediate and relatives) take responsibility for the care of said family member. In the hospital, family members bring outside food that he/she believe will help restore the Yin and Yang balance of the recovering family member. When the patient is eventually discharged from the hospital, the mother of the patient becomes in charge of the person’s food intake, diet and activities. Any modifications to the person’s diet needs to be consulted with the mother. Conclusion

Culture is passed-on every generation within ethnic groups in the community. The United States is becoming melting pot of immigrants all over the world. Often times patients under the care of a medical professional will consciously and unconsciously revert to his/her traditional health interventions which may contradict to his/her current diagnosis and treatment. It is important for health care providers to become familiar and sensitive with different cultures these days for them to effectively deliver quality of care.


World Health Organization. 2002. Acupuncture : Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials http://apps.who.int/medicinedocs/pdf/s4926e/s4926e.pdf (accessed Jan. 18, 2013) Medical Spanish.com (2013). Mal de ojo. http://www.medicalspanish.com/cultural-topics/mal-de-ojo.html (accessed Jan 18, 2013) Trotter RT, Chariva JA (1997). Curanderismo.: Mexican American Folk Healing. (pg. 25)

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