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How to Be Culturally Competent While Treating Clients Who Want AcupunctureEssay

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Cultural Competence

Public service providers will, during some stage of their career, have no option but to make some decisions that have potential ethical consequences. These decisions may be with regards to one's own actions, or may concern actions by others. While some decisions may be easy to make as they have clear guidelines, with the issue itself being inappropriate but resulting in no harm, others can prove to be difficult because of ambiguous circumstances or guidelines, with wrong decisions carrying repercussions for oneself or for others. Every once in a while, a challenge of prodigious proportions may appear that directly affects a practitioner. For instance, if a client, without warning, kills himself / herself or sues or threatens a practitioner or others in the service organization, their reputation may get damaged. Practitioners may come across a scenario with cultural differences wherein they have no other option but to decide upon a course of action that has ethical consequences on the cultural scale, under abstruse circumstances (Koocher & Keith-Spiegel, 2015).

Often, culture is defined as an integration of bodies of knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs. It incorporates numerous elements, including: personal identification, customs, language, values, beliefs, thoughts, actions, institutions and communications; additionally, these may normally be specific to racial, ethnic, racial, social, religious, or geographic groups. For health care providers and health information providers, the above elements shape views and belief systems pertaining to health, wellness, disease, illness, healing, and health services delivery. Cultural competency, as an element of health care, has a favorable impact on delivery of patient care, by assisting health care providers in delivering services that respect, and are receptive to, different patients' health practices, beliefs, and linguistic and cultural needs (nih.gov, 2015).

How do these policies and procedures affect health care?

Linguistic differences and diverse patterns of non- verbal communication set the scene for what occurs in a medical setting. Communication barriers may result from using non- verbal cues differently, or from the speaking of different languages, and this may negatively affect the service provided to patients. The provider, the patient, and the system or organization wherein the service encounter occurs, need to cooperate to traverse these communication barriers. Different cultural perceptions of disease, illness, and medical responsibilities and roles can have an impact on the disease's pathway and outcome. For instance, while Western medication has a clear scientific foundation, a few healers of Native American origin are of the view that health and spirituality are closely inter-linked. Different beliefs regarding disease source, diagnosis and cure may prove to be an obstacle between the patient and health care provider (Washington State Department of Health, 2010).

Cultural preferences for illness-treatment imply that individuals may abide by their communities' or native country's healing traditions. While this doesn't imply that patients may refuse to make use of Western medicine, health care practitioners may encounter challenges in aiding patients to overcome any qualms with regard to Western medication. Socioeconomic status impacts health and healthcare, as it limits care access and health care options (Washington State Department of Health, 2010).

How might cultural health beliefs challenge your practice decisions?

Cultural beliefs regarding health compel one to challenge one's own ethical theories and ideas, making one question whether they, indeed, work for everyone and aren't effective only for members of the majority cultural group. Many American bioethical practices, like patient privacy and informed consent, stem from an anthropological model that lays emphasis on individuality of people over familial or communal connection. Applying such practices in a similar manner for patients operating from a powerful sense of communal or family identity vs. personal autonomy and individual identity, may prove difficult. Furthermore, determining the importance that must be given to specific religious or cultural practices is also a tricky aspect (Peterson-Iyer, 2008).

How Patient care will be managed differently: Acupuncture

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) denotes a wide collection of healthcare procedures, which don't belong to the health traditions of a nation, and aren't a part of the country's central healthcare setting. Natural medicine, holistic medicine and non-conventional medicine are some other terms, used sometimes to describe CAM (WHO, 2004).

The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines CAM as a collection of diverse healthcare and medical products, practices and systems that aren't generally covered under conventional medicine; these include biologically-based treatments, body-based and manipulative practices, alternative health system, and mind-body medical practices. In the last 20 years, the U.S. health sector has been widely adopting CAM. For example, the National Health Interview Survey conducted in 2007 by the National Center for Health Statistics and NCCAM revealed that a total of 38% American adults used some or other form of CAM; total CAM expenditures in 2007 were estimated to be 34 billion dollars (Cui, 2013).

Standard medical treatments and tests undergo a number of scientific trials; success in these trials enables a treatment/test to be used in the conventional medical system. However, exceptions are ever-present. Some novel practices provide obvious and remarkable benefits, justifying their swift acceptance. A noticeable trend towards integrating CAM therapies into conventional medicine can be seen. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs), hospitals and physicians are providing and employing CAM for their patients; there is an increasing insurance coverage of CAM therapies, and integrative medical clinics and centers are being instituted, with many of them closely linked to teaching hospitals and medical schools (Institute of Medicine (U.S.) Committee on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by the American Public., 2005).

This section looks into a popular alternative therapy, "Acupuncture."

Acupuncture denotes a practice of pricking the skin using very fine needles at specific points of the body. This medical practice's aim is relieving the symptoms of specific health conditions. It is believed that acupuncture points possess electrical properties, thus affecting the body's chemical neurotransmitters. Acupuncture constitutes a popular, ancient Chinese medical practice. According to traditional Chinese medical practitioners, our body possesses over two thousand acupuncture points linked through meridians or pathways, which give rise to a flow of energy (Qi, pronounced as "chee") all through one's body; this is responsible for general health. Diseases may be caused by disruption of this energy flow in the body. It is believed that application of acupuncture to distinct points will improve Qi- flow (john Hopkins Medicine, n.d.).

Two means for integrating acupuncture therapy into primary health care exist, that provide patients with more therapeutic alternatives. One is establishing a qualified and trusted referral partner, practicing acupuncture. Through close collaboration, clinical issues of patients can be handled by acupuncturists, and the primary care physician (PCP) can coordinate patient care. The second means is obtaining additional training via certified acupuncture courses. This may be an especially beneficial approach for physicians who prefer a hands-on patient care approach. Becoming an effective acupuncturist does not just require skills; it also needs the proper temperament, as most patients encountered will be those having chronic agony, who have tried and failed to recover through conventional methods, or who have a preference for non- traditional views of health or medicine. If one fails to forge a nurturing and empathic relationship and have an open mind with one's patients, acquiring skills won't lead to fruitful acupuncture (Mao & Kapur, 2011).

A patient-focused approach is the best treatment method or option one can follow for ensuring cultural competency. Coined originally in the year 1969 by Balint, and expressing the idea that every individual patient must be understood as unique and different, patient-centered treatment started off as an explanatory account of the manner in which physicians ought to communicate and interact with their patients. This approach fosters confidence and trust, clarifies and distinguishes the concerns and symptoms of the patient, creates and tests several hypotheses, which may include psychosocial and biological dimensions of the ailment(s), and constructs the foundations for a lasting patient- practitioner relationship. In 1987, the Picker- Commonwealth Patient- Centered Care Program was initiated with an aim for promoting a patient- focused approach to health care and hospital services, concentrating on the concerns and demands of the patients. The program identified seven elements of patient- focused health care. These are: 1) respect for the expressed needs, preferences, and principles of patients; 2) coordinating and integrating patient care; 3) knowledge, communication and training; 4) physical well-being; 5) emotional assistance and easing of patient unease and fear; 6) participation of family and friends; and 7) continuity and transition (Saha, Beach, & Cooper, 2010).

Risks of possibly injurious conventional-alternative medicine interactions may rise if physicians aren't aware of the fact that patients use alternative medicines, as well. Honest doctor-patient communication is crucial to avoid such an occurrence. The most widespread reasons behind nondisclosure are absence of inquiry on the doctor's part, doctor disinterest, inability to offer CAM-related information, patient's belief that doctor will disapprove, and perception of the patient that CAM usage has no connection to conventional care. Research also revealed that patients would more likely divulge their CAM-use if they perceive the physician to be an open-minded, respectful and approachable person. This indicates… [END OF PREVIEW]

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