Cultural Competency means understanding the values and background of a person and how those values and backgrounds might translate into his or her daily needs. Because providing in-home care is a very personal experience, not taking the time and effort to understand your client’s background and how that shapes his or her care expectations can mean frustration and misunderstanding for both caregiver and care receiver.
Examples of cultural competency questions to ask a person receiving care include:
- How would you like to be addressed (Mrs. Jones vs. Theresa)?
- What role do your family members play in providing care?
- What dates, holidays, and special events are important to you and your family?
- What foods do you like or tend to avoid? Do you have any dietary restrictions (i.e. cultural, religious, moral, etc.)?
- What is your daily routine?
Nonverbal communication should also be taken into account when trying to understand your client’s values and background. Body language, for example, is an important part of how people communicate. While you may perceive someone who does not make a lot of eye contact as disinterested, the reality may be that prolonged eye contact is a cultural taboo for that person.