July 30, 2021

The importance of cultural competence in healthcare

From the desk of Min An, COO at Kline Galland

Often, cultural differences aren’t the first thing people consider when thinking about healthcare. Families and patients may consider quality of care, cost, location and overall comfort, but cultural diversity and competency of the staff aren’t often among the top priorities. However, cultural competence can sometimes be the largest determining factor in the quality of care.

Naturally, the long-term care field deals with people from many different backgrounds—this includes care facility staff as well as patients. It’s vital that caregivers are culturally aware and understand that each individual has different needs based on their background and set of beliefs.

Having spent more than 30 years serving the senior community and 11 years as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Kline Galland, I’m proud to acknowledge how hard we’ve worked to build diversity and trust on all levels, including culturally, to ensure that both our staff and patients feel accepted and comfortable with their surroundings, community, and care.

Holistic healthcare demands that caretakers operate with a level of cultural competence that includes setting their own beliefs aside in order to offer compassionate and empathetic care. Caretakers must do their part to understand a patient’s background, as cultural differences and beliefs play a large part in the ability to deliver and receive the best possible care.

Since I began at Kline Galland, we’ve worked tirelessly to foster an inclusive environment and create a team that is aware, sensitive, and celebrates cultural differences. Our staff does this by increasing their knowledge of various cultures and ethnicities, appreciating the impact of a patient’s culture on their mindset, listening to patients and asking questions, and being genuinely humble and willing to learn. This has ensured that Kline Galland has an accepting and welcoming environment, and has also improved our quality of care, which extends past our patients and residents and into our relationships with their families as well.

Through both our staff and patients, Kline Galland is exposed to myriad cultures. Everyone is supported and encouraged to share their own cultures with each other; we honor various food-related traditions, hold cultural events, and create learning opportunities to foster diversity awareness and knowledge. Most importantly, we have developed an environment in which we can appreciate all of it. In essence, we are working in a cultural milieu, which leads to building essential trust among our residents and staff.

In my 30 years serving the senior community, I have learned so much about family, community, compassion, and care. The lessons and experiences I have had over my career have informed so much of my day-to-day interactions with residents, patients, and staff. I work to share these experiences with our diverse staff of caregivers to encourage them to be curious, compassionate, and above all else, the most caring and thoughtful caregivers they can be.

We are proud of the inclusive and diverse culture we’ve created and invite you to experience the Kline Galland difference.