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Cultural Diversity in Aged Care Practice

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As part of the Aged Care Course, Certificate III in Aged Care, students are required to undertake HLTHIR403C – Work with Culturally Diverse Clients and Co-Workers. This is unit is designed to deal with the cultural awareness required for effective communication and cooperation with people of differing cultures. Cultural diversity can be present in ethnicity, race, language, cultural norms, religion, beliefs, personal experience, gender, age, disability, sexuality or special needs. Below includes an introduction to the cultural differences faced in aged care.

Arabic Speaking Aged Care Clients:

• Aged care providers for Arabic speaking clients must be aware of the strong traditions against alcohol and foods
• Halal food should be provided
• Clients may wish to be treated by an aged carer of their own gender
• Muslims may need assistance in furniture rearrangement to perform the five daily prayers and ablutions

Aged Care providers must be considerate of other people's cultures when dealing with clientsCambodian Aged Care Clients:

• Married Cambodian women retain their maiden name
• Clients prefer to be called Cambodians or Khmer, as opposed to Kampucheans
• Pronunciation of names is an important consideration for aged care providers
• Use Sir or Madam to address clients that are strangers; apart from that Cambodians are addressed according to relationship
• Culturally, they regard the head as the keeper of the spirit and because of this, it is disrespectful to touch the head
• Generally, it is considered rude to make eye contact with an older Cambodian person

Chinese Aged Care Clients:

• Learn the proper pronunciation of names
• When addressing older Chinese people, use the proper salutation (i.e. Mr, Mrs, Miss)
• Chinese may view outgoingness and eye contact as hostile

Croatian Aged Care Clients:

• Aged care employees should always ask the client how they prefer to be addressed
• ‘Vi’ is the polite way to address someone older than oneself

Filipino Aged Care Clients:

• Refer to women as ‘Filipina’; ‘Filipino’ is suitable for the general population and males specifically
• When talking, some Filipinos avoid direct eye contact

German Aged Care Clients:

• When first meeting a German client shaking hands is the preferred method of introduction
• Physical space should be respected and social communications should remain formal

Indian Aged Care Clients:

• Hindus are prohibited from eating beef
• Respect for the elderly is paramount, they are viewed as important authority figures
• Respect for the elderly is reflected in family tradition of ‘earning merit in the afterlife’ by caring for older generations

Italian Aged Care Clients:

• Aged care providers should ask Italian clients how they wish to be addressed
• Physical contact is less rigid than other cultures and seen as normal
• Italians are highly expressive of happiness and sadness, both vocally and physically

Aged Care providers must be familiar with dealing with diverse ethnicities, religions, and genderPolish Aged Care Clients:

• The most polite form of address is Pan (for males) and Pani (for females), this is used as the salutation before a first name
• General good manners are required by aged care givers

Spanish Community Aged Care Clients:

• Spanish (like Italians) are often very affectionate in their greetings
• When referring to the Spanish client as ‘you’ it is important to observe language differences (‘Tu’ is used for friendship whereas carers should refer to clients as ‘Usted’ which is the formal version)
• Address clients by their surname with the salutation Mr, Mrs or Miss

Vietnamese Aged Care Clients:

• Assertive and loud behaviour is viewed as disrespectful with older clients
• Many Vietnamese withdraw from conflicts and do not draw attention to problems
• Aged care providers should address clients without touching them and it may be suitable to bow upon meeting
• Aged care providers must understand that a smile can signify happiness, guilt, anger, sadness, fear, embarrassment or a range of other emotions

Do you work within aged care? Have you had an experience with a culturally diverse client or co-worker? Share your stories and comments with us in the box below!

For more information on the Certificate III in Aged Care unit HLTHIR403C, visit the unit page. Alternatively, if you’d like to read more on the cultural diversity in aged care see the Working Cross Culturally Guide.


Topics: Cultural Diversity in Aged Care, Aged Care, Cultural Diversity, Certificate III in Aged Care


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