Many healthcare offices are looking for ways to make patients feel more comfortable, no matter their background or culture. If this is something your office is working on, we have tips and medical promotional items to help you deliver quality care to your ever-more-diverse patient population. Statistics Canada has estimated that from 2006-2031, the country’s foreign-born population could grow four times faster than those born here. And as the face of the country continues to change, finding ways to address diversity in healthcare will become even more critical.
While every culture includes nuances that can’t always be easily understood by outsiders, taking the time to learn as much as possible about a patient’s culture can help prevent misunderstandings and ease treatment anxiety. For example, some Chinese patients may seek out holistic ways to improve their health as opposed to just treating symptoms. Consider bringing in a speaker or mentor who can help your staff recognize and understand possible roadblocks to healthcare for different cultures. Show speakers your appreciation with a handwritten note and tumbler imprinted with the words “thank you” in multiple languages.
Strive to be understood
Communicating healthcare issues and treatment suggestions can be challenging with patients of any background. One study showed that 75% of doctors felt they had communicated well, but only 21% of patients treated by those doctors thought they received adequate communication. To help prevent communication issues, The Doctors Company® recommends:
- Using interpreters when speaking to patients with limited English proficiency.
- Asking the patient and/or interpreters to repeat back what you said when discussing consent or treatment.
- Suggesting a referral to a medical professional who speaks the patient’s primary language, if the patient doesn’t want an interpreter.
If you improve communication with diverse staff or new phone voice messaging, let patients know by sending them information on a magnet. You can also share critical medical information like summaries and discharge instructions in their preferred language. A folder can be a useful healthcare giveaway to keep everything organized. You can also use a medical promotional item, like a colouring tote, to connect with young patients.
Cultural and language differences can leave some patients feeling uneasy when seeking medical treatment. Find ways to reduce their stress by:
- Discussing their anxieties about seeking treatment.
- Encouraging them to bring a friend or family member to appointments.
- Offering to write down difficult-to-understand instructions or using a model to show as well as tell.
While you’re talking with them, offer patients a healthcare giveaway, like a fun stress reliever they can squeeze as you talk.
Better understanding means better treatment
As you treat people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, mutual understanding is key. By offering medical promotional items and using these tips, you’ll be able to put your patients at ease.