My cultural background is . . .

My cultural background is . . .

There are cultural differences & workers need to be culturally competent.

I want my workers to respect me and how we do things; to respect my beliefs and values.
Workers have their own beliefs and values but when they are in my home I want my beliefs and values respected.

All of us are cultural beings. All of us have culture. Our culture shapes how we see the world and make sense of it. Culture influences all of our behaviours and interactions. Culture defines core values.

In Australia there are people from many different cultural backgrounds. 

One of the big challenges is to work cross culturally – for you and your worker to respectively understand each other’s culture.

When things are working well some of the things you would notice are:

  • Your worker asks you about your family’s culture and beliefs
  • You are able to explain your culture and beliefs to the worker.

This can then mean things like the worker:

  • Cooking culturally appropriate meals when helping with meal preparation.
  • Being aware of and taking into account the cultural significance of gender roles.
  • Being aware of and taking into account the significance of religious beliefs.

More information on culturally appropriate attendant care




Cultural sensitivities

There can be sensitivities around cultural issues as well.

With younger clients privacy and for children in particular sensitivity around how that child was handled, particularly for people of some ethnic backgrounds.

I have a client whose parents are very unhappy for her shoulders or her arms to be exposed. So the care agency needs to be aware that when they are dressing her, each time that they are dressing her in a manner that is in line with what the parents’ wishes are or what parents have expressed their wishes to be.

I have an indigenous client and I found that there is a need to involve the extended family to quite a significant degree because in the indigenous culture that is just the way they operate. And that’s the preference. And there is a massive benefit to that because you can tap into different resources that exist within that extended family.

So, it’s just a matter of having the clients trust you sufficiently to tell you what they want and what they are comfortable with. Because initially we are all strangers to the client and that trust doesn’t come overnight. So it’s something that has to be worked at on both sides so that the communication can be honest and frank and the services can then be tailored to fit in with what’s going to work best because there is little point otherwise.

Case manager

Different expectations

Cultural issues can be significant especially if there is a language barrier or with some older people that we’ve had in the scheme who were very new to Australia. English is their second language and there are some culturally specific things that can really only be delivered by somebody who has an understanding of that culture.

We have a few Asian participants in our scheme who are Chinese speaking and have some preferences around food, and the style of the food that they like to eat, and the time of day when they like to eat. And other people that are familiar with those cultural things can deliver that, so it can be very important.

I’ve got a young Muslim man and he wants men delivering his care. He doesn’t really want women to deliver his care. I think for him it is a part of his culture and a part of his religion. And that’s been challenging because if someone needs a lot of care that’s really hard to get just male carers. We’ve managed to get that and he’s very happy with that. So that’s working well.

There can be cultural, social expectations around who is going to deliver the care and care agencies try to meet those needs. Sometimes there is a need for compromise as well. Just depending on again where you are located, how many care agencies are in that area and what they can cater for.

Lifetime Care Coordinator