Cultural Considerations in Latino Patients
October 15, 2012
Castleton State College
Latino is a term used for the ethnicity group from Latin America. This group of people is also referred to as Hispanics. According to Fernandez and others, Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority in the United States today. The United States Census Bureau ( 2011) reports that there are now 50.5 million Hispanics in the US, an increase of 43 % since April 2000. This has made the Hispanic population of the United States as of April 1, 2010, the nation's largest ethnic or race minority. Hispanics now constitute of 16.3 percent of the nation's total population. In addition, there are 3.7 million residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Therefore, comprehensive understanding of Latino culture and beliefs are very important in achieving desired results when taking care of Latino patients. It is very important not to make assumptions and expectations as health care providers about different ethnicities as this may be a barrier for effective care. Health care providers should be competent in dealing with different cultures. Fernandez and others defines cultural competence “as the ability of health care providers to deliver effective services to racially, ethnically and culturally diverse patient populations”.
Latinos are at high risk for various health problems that include; diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDs, alcoholism, cirrhosis and death from violence (Peterson-Iyer, 2008). This ethnic group generally delays seeking medical help until conditions worsen as a result of poverty or lack of insurance coverage. Some cultural factors such as tolerating pain without complaining are some of the reasons they delay to get help. Beliefs like some conditions are natural and do not require one to go to the hospital, for example being pregnant and giving birth are considered as natural conditions that they believe do not need...