Focus Topics

topic 4 | Activity 9: Cultural and individual differences

Amy has settled in to the aged care facility. A family meeting was held within the first week of Amy’s arrival. Mei and Erik met with members of the healthcare team and a medical interpreter. During the meeting, management of Amy’s symptoms and quality of life was discussed. Despite time allocated for Mei and Erik to ask questions during the meeting, Mei did not feel comfortable to speak up at this time and sat silently in the room. Erik worried that the information about his mother’s deteriorating condition was very difficult for Mei to listen to and accept.

Mei comes every morning to visit Amy and helps with her care. The change in Amy’s condition upsets Mei and she finds it difficult to understand that it is a purely biophysical condition. Mei has always placed a small piece of Jade under Amy’s pillow to ward off evil spirits and to assist with healing. She continues to do this.

Each morning at home, Mei gets up and prepares food to take to Amy when she visits her. It is important to Mei and Erik that Amy’s friends and community are allowed to visit Amy when they would like to and they have asked the facility to accommodate for this. Erik visits his mum each afternoon after work and takes Mei back home with him when he leaves.

  1. Discuss how staff attitudes about Amy, Mei and Erik’s cultural practices would:
    • Affect care given provided to Amy and her family
    • Impact on Amy and her family’s psychological wellbeing.
  2. What strategies could be used to educate healthcare professionals about cultural competence?