Cultural competence in organisational infrastructure
How to identify and allocate the resources needed to plan, deliver and evaluate culturally competent services.
Why is it important?
Culturally competence requires financial and personnel resources. Without a supportive infrastructure, it may be considered an add-on rather than an integral part of core business. Careful planning is needed to make the best use of the limited resources available to health services.
Finance and budgets
- There is an overall budgetary allocation and investment in cultural competence activities, aligned with the organisation’s strategic plan.
- Persons are designated to monitor the need for additional resources or funding.
Good practice example
A community health centre implements a centralised booking system for interpreters and identifies a staff member who is responsible for coordinating bookings. As a result, the service saves money through block bookings.
- Appropriate technologies are used to facilitate communication between clients and service providers
- Staff are trained to use the organisation’s information system to collect, enter and use data related to cultural competence, in a consistent and standardised way.
Good practice examples
A rural health service installs speaker phones in its counselling rooms, enabling the use of telephone interpreters in an area where face-to-face interpreting may not be available.
Links and partnerships
- Formal and informal alliances are formed with community and other partners to address issues related to cultural competence.
- Internal coordination between departments facilitates the delivery of culturally competent care.
- There is evidence of appropriate use of and referral to partner agencies.
Good practice example
A hospital’s Cultural Diversity Committee includes representatives of external organisations with expertise in working with CALD clients, as well community representatives and staff from all hospital departments.
This tip sheet is based on Indicators of Cultural Competence in Health Care Delivery Organisations: An Organisational Cultural Competence Assessment Profile , prepared by the Lewin Group Inc. under contract with the USA Department of Health and Human Services (2002).
The eight tip sheets in this series cover different domains. These domains are interrelated and provide a comprehensive framework for assessing and improving cultural competence.
- A framework for Cultural Competence: This is the first in a series of tip sheets on cultural competence in the health sector. It provides a definition and performance standards .
- Organisational values: how to demonstrate the value that your organisation places on cultural competence.
- Governance: how to embed cultural competence in your organisation’s advisory bodies, policies, standards and goals.
- Planning, monitoring & evaluation: how to ensure that programmatic and operational plans address cultural competence issues, and how to track and assess your organisation’s progress.
- Communication: how to support the effective and culturally appropriate exchange of information between your organisation and its clients, and between staff members.
- Staff development: how to equip staff and service providers with the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to deliver culturally competent services.
- Services & interventions: how to deliver or facilitate clinical, public health or health-related services in a culturally competent manner.
(Source: The Lewin Group, 2002)
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