Patient Impact and Benefits of Transcultural Health

Posted October 1, 2017

Transcultural health and transcultural nursing is the practice of addressing the ever-growing multicultural population in the United States with healthcare needs that are consistent with patients’ individual cultures.  With the growing number of ethnicities represented in the U.S., the push for transcultural care in our healthcare system is important in order to identify best treatment plans for every patient.

In 2000, national standards were released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Office of Minority Health addressing the social inequities and cultural obstructions that cause patients to not receive the highest healthcare available.  These standards are referred to as CLAS, or Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services.

Transcultural healthcare provides services to patients based on their health needs and cultural standards.  Similarly, transcultural nursing is the practice of focusing on how beliefs and customs influence patient behavior in both health and illness.  Cultural values and beliefs are often great influencers on how a patient responds to treatment, thus increasing the treatment goal.

Utilizing transcultural care provides a vital component in patient outcomes.  When doctors and nurses are culturally aware of individuals’ ethnicity, beliefs, and customs, quality care can be specialized creating a unique health plan that parallels the patients’ rights and well-being.  Transcultural nursing requires healthcare workers to understand issues such as ethnicity, race, gender, and culture, as well as sexual orientation.  The diversity within the United States requires a call to action by healthcare workers to recognize the various ethnicities and cultures in order to create a balanced plan to which patients will respond best.

One of the easiest ways to accomplish transcultural nursing and care is to identify communication needs.  In Washington D.C., two organizations, Andromeda and The Linner Foundation, are well known for providing transcultural healthcare by addressing the needs and mental health issues among minority groups and those in need of health services.

The concept of transcultural health is to encompass and recognize the multicultural backgrounds ever present and growing in America.  When healthcare employees take culture into the equation of diagnosing and developing a wellness plan, the patient is guaranteed to get the best patient care and health outcomes.  This practice effectively creates a plan that addresses the unique individual needs of every person.

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