Enhancing culturally responsive care across Monash Partners health services

Monash Partners is leading a project to strengthen culturally responsive clinical care across our health services network to ultimately improve patient health outcomes.

In collaboration with the Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership, Monash Partners is developing resources to assist health services embed cultural awareness, cultural responsiveness and cultural safety into everyday clinical care and practice. The first learning resource is targeted at nurses working with older people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Ms Joanna Ong, Monash Partners Project Manager said given the culturally diverse population we, and our health services partners, work with these resources are crucial.

“Health services are considered the first point of contact for most Australians when accessing healthcare with a culturally responsive environment playing a significant part in improving that access and crucial in closing the gap in health outcomes,” said Ms Ong.

“Cultural responsiveness is the capacity of clinicians to provide care that is respectful of, and relevant to, the health beliefs, health practices, cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patient populations and communities.

“Our aim is to create a safe and culturally welcoming environment that gives respectful care that promotes dignity, privacy and safety. This would not only benefit patients, but also healthcare providers themselves,” said Ms Ong.

A Cultural Responsive Committee including representatives from the Monash Partners health services network including Alfred Health, Monash Health, Peninsula Health, Eastern Health, Cabrini Health, Epworth HealthCare and Latrobe Regional Hospital as well as consumer and community representation has been established which will work to embed practices and processes within the health services context.

Rhonda Garad, Project Committee Member said this project was about patient centred care, responding to the needs of the individual in a cultural context whilst providing assurance to those delivering the messages.

“Improving the quality of care through more equitable and accessible health care will not only lead to improved health communication and patient satisfaction but ultimately improved patient health outcomes.

“However, staff can often feel intimidated and scared to ask questions, but if the message is about patient centred care, it’s about asking the right questions and responding appropriately,” said Ms Garad.

“Inclusion of cultural responsiveness is not only necessary but should be at the forefront of our health service strategy to guarantee a sustained change in our approach,” said Ms Garad.

The project and resources are expected to be completed by the end of the year.