Providing Culturally Sensitive Health Care to Hispanic Clients

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By the year 2000, Hispanics will outnumber African Americans and become the majority minority. Statistics reveal that health problems of the three main groups of Hispanics in the United States (Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans) include diabetes, injuries and violence, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, limited access to health care, and many other problems shared by the poor and disenfranchised. The health care provider may intervene with Hispanic clients and communities in culturally sensitive ways such as viewing culture as an enabler rather than a resistant force, incorporating cultural beliefs into the plans of care, stressing familialism, taking the time for “pleasant conversation,” refraining from harsh criticism, and involving the community in preventive health care programs. Such interventions require providers who are knowledgeable about the culture, customs, beliefs, and language of the Hispanics within their practice area. Health care providers also need to be alert to and active in health care policy making that will improve access to health care for the growing Hispanic population.

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