The provision of cultural and language-appropriate healthcare practice requires a greater understanding of the impact of these differences on populations and their perceptions and ability to receive adequate healthcare at all times. It is important to address these challenges through a specific action plan which is designed to accommodate the needs of patients in different population groups. The chosen action plan must provide exemplary support for disadvantaged and at-risk populations so that their needs are met in a timely and efficient manner without delays or a compromise in the quality of care that is provided. The following discussion will address the effectiveness of the chosen action plan and its impact on population groups who require culturally and linguistically appropriate care and treatment in healthcare settings. In particular, the Veterans Administration requires a number of changes in order to establish an environment that is conducive to culturally competent care and treatment in the care and treatment of all veterans. An action plan must be established to accommodate these needs and to demonstrate effectiveness in promoting culturally competent care for all veterans. Since the Veterans Administration places a significant emphasis on cardiovascular health with its current strategy, it is important to address the actions that are required to reduce these risks for veterans, regardless of cultural identity (University of Maryland School of Medicine, 2013). Therefore, it is expected that cultural diversity will play an important role in the chosen action plan.
The chosen action plan provides leadership and oversight in regards to established National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards in Health and Healthcare, as created by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (OMH) (2013). The action plan includes a detailed educational component to provide knowledge and guidance to healthcare providers in their efforts to treat patients from diverse population groups with their own set of customs and practices, as well as the potential for language barriers (OMH, 2013). This plan also including the provision of assistance in reducing these barriers through the use of translators and materials which provide the appropriate language (OMH, 2013). The plan also offers healthcare providers a greater means of communication to express their ideas and insights into this important healthcare concern and its potential impact on patients (OMH, 2013). For the VA system, culturally competent care for patients with cardiovascular risks should address specific lifestyle changes that are appropriate for patients, given their individual cultural needs and expectations (Quinones, 2011). In particular, the action plan must incorporate the principles of evidence-based practice in order to accomplish the desired objectives and to support cultural awareness in all aspects of care and treatment (Fuller and Red, 2013).
The chosen action plan is effective in that it offers a variety of services to patients with cardiovascular disease that will accommodate diverse groups and their ability to access healthcare services more efficiently. Unfortunately, current activities are not necessarily prepared to accommodate the sweeping changes in healthcare law within the United States, better known as the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare (Koh et.al, 2012). Therefore, it is important to address how this transition will impact healthcare practices in different ways and the diverse cultures that are served (Koh et.al, 2012). Cardiovascular health must be optimized to facilitate healthier lifestyles and an emphasis on preventative measures in this area. The VA must focus on specific interventions that are tailored to patients from different cultures, while also considering the manner in which care is provided and how to better structure this process to improve health (Quinones, 2011). Veterans possess considerable needs that are highly specific based upon past experiences, regardless of culture; nonetheless, culture must be examined during the implementation of the chosen action plan so that Veterans do not feel excluded from obtaining high quality care and treatment in relation to cardiovascular health.
In an effort to accommodate current and future directions in healthcare law and practice, the chosen action plan must be evaluated and updated on a regular basis in order to support diverse populations more effectively. This may include such initiatives as mobile healthcare brought directly into diverse communities through the utilization of mobile phones so that patients are provided with culturally and linguistically appropriate messages that positively impact their health and wellbeing (Tirado, 2011). This also includes the ability to access healthcare patient records without difficulty and in a timely manner (Tirado, 2011). It is important for healthcare providers to consider this option because it engages diverse populations through a device that they use on a regular basis so that they have greater access and comfort with healthcare services and practices (Tirado, 2011). From a cardiovascular disease perspective, it is necessary to develop strategies to improve behaviors that may lead to cardiovascular complications in patients with these risks. It is necessary to maximize the opportunities to promote optimal cardiovascular health for veterans, as they possess unique experiences that often require individualized psychological support that is also culturally exclusive.
Finally, nurses must play an important role in advancing their own knowledge of cultural competence to support a higher level quality of patient care and treatment (Castro and Ruiz, 2009). In some cases, this may require culturally and linguistically appropriate services as provided by nurses of the same cultures to increase level of comfort and compliance with the required directives (Castro and Ruiz, 2009). This alternative also enables patients to develop greater trust in their healthcare providers and the guidance that they provide so that patient compliance is expanded (Castro and Ruiz, 2009). When patients feel comfortable with their healthcare providers, they are more likely to listen to what is being said and to take guidance more seriously (Castro and Ruiz, 2009). Nurses with experience in cardiovascular complications and treatment must provide specific knowledge in order to accommodate patients requiring specialized care and treatment in this area. It is necessary to develop strategies that emphasize cultural needs in a group-based setting in order to improve nursing practice objectives throughout the VA system (Quinones, 2011). The chosen action plan must be in accordance with existing national standards to produce greater than anticipated quality of life measures for veterans to preserve cardiovascular health.
Throughout healthcare practice, the use of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, knowledge, and providers is significant in supporting positive and meaningful healthcare outcomes. The chosen action plan will go a long way in influencing how healthcare providers approach and manage cultural diversity in healthcare practice and its overall impact on patient care and wellbeing. Veterans facing cardiovascular complications must demonstrate their willingness to develop new strategies and approaches to communicate with patients effectively to reduce cardiovascular risks and improve behaviors associated with this area. Therefore, it is essential to consider these challenges and to take the steps that are required to ensure that patient care is specific to the needs of patients from diverse cultures with possible language barriers or difficulties in communicating with healthcare providers, particularly in the VA system, which is highly segmented and limiting in its current focus on cultural competence in many areas. This system must be recognized as a key contributor in the advancement of culturally competent care and treatment, as veterans possess unique challenges that set the tone for other population groups (Vanguard Communications, 2013). Therefore, the provision of culturally competent care must consider communication and cultural freedom in an effort to preserve cardiovascular wellbeing.
Castro, A., and Ruiz, E. (2009). The effects of nurse practitioner cultural competence on Latina patient satisfaction. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, 21(5), 278-286.
Fuller, J., and Red, L. (2013). Cultural diversity and competency considerations for healthcare. Retrieved from http://www.diversity.va.gov/training/files/cultural-competency.ppt
Koh, H.K., Berwick, D.M., Clancy, C.M., Baur, C., Brach, C., Harris, L.M., and Zerhusen, E.G. (2012) New federal policy initiatives to boost health literacy can help the nation move beyond the cycle of costly ‘crisis care.’ Health Affairs, 31(2), 434-443.
Office of Minority Health (2013). The National CLAS Standards. Retrieved from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=15
Quinones, A.R. (2011). Interventions to improve minority health care and reduce racial and ethnic disparities. Retrieved from http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/publications/esp/healthcare-disparities.pdf
Tirado, M. (2011). Role of mobile health in the care of culturally and linguistically diverse US populations. Perspectives on Health Information Management, 8, 1e.
University of Maryland School of Medicine (2013). Baltimore VA Medical Center. Retrieved from https://umem.org/page/hospitals/vamc