Hispanic Culture and Healthcare

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Table of contents

  1. Hispanic Ancestry
  2. Health Concerns for Hispanics
  3. Impact on Nursing
  4. Culturally Competent Care

The largest minority in the United States are Hispanics. They have many traditions within their culture. There is a predisposition to paternalism within this culture as well as an imbalance in health professional relationships. Due to their underdeveloped economics, they have a high rate of infectious diseases as well as chronic diseases (Valdez-Martínez et al., 2008).

With the leading cause of death in this population being cancer and cardiovascular disease, the Affordable Care Act has helped them to gain access to healthcare services to treat or help prevent these diseases. There are still a few limitations that cause a challenge, these are due to health literacy, cultural sensitivity, and lack of Hispanic providers. Hispanics do not routinely have health screenings or follow up with their doctors, causing more healthcare barriers (J. Ahnquist et al., 2016).

Hispanic Ancestry

When it comes to Hispanic families, they are close to each other and more than willing to help when help is needed. Sometimes there are a few generations that all live in the same house to help care for one another. The husband is the one who goes to work to earn money while the mother stays at home being a ‘housewife’ caring for the kids and taking care of the house. The male is the authoritative one in the family; therefore, the wife and children are both submissive. If the wife were to have a job, they still must implement their household duties. While this is how it used to be, nowadays it is common for the male and female to share equal power within the relationship (Clark, 2019).

Health Concerns for Hispanics

Per the national vital statistic statement, for the Hispanic population, cancer is the dominant cause of death with cardiovascular disease ranking as the second prevailing disease to cause death. Cardiovascular risk factors including obesity, hypertension, tobacco use, dyslipidemia, and diabetes, in no specific order. Most trials that are completed have non-Hispanic whites as their population of subjects, therefore they do not fully represent this population related to medical problems. In addition to the above-stated health concerns, they also have a higher rate of obesity as well as diabetes (Avilés-Santa et al., 2017).

As a result of Hispanic mothers having a low income, the choices of food these mothers provide for their children usually are low in nutrition and are calorie-dense choices leading to childhood obesity as well as type 2 diabetes. When it comes to Hispanics who have lower-income, “They have family and social responsibilities that supersede their health, and historically speaking, they’re usually being diagnosed in an emergency care situation, so prevention is not on their radar” (Bauer et al., 2017). With the chances of them not being able to afford health insurance to treat these diagnoses, they must learn how to take control of eating fewer foods that are full of oils and high carbs. If children are brought up eating unhealthy foods, they are more likely to continue this eating habit in their later years increasing the chances of acquiring both illnesses.

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When it comes to healthcare, Hispanics use the holistic healing system known as ‘Curanderismo’. With the help of curanderos (male) or curanderas (female), herbal remedies are used to help fight off diseases that are caused by either a hex, curse or mal de ojo (the evil eye). There are three different specialties within this healing system. There is the ‘yerbero’ who uses herbal remedies to heal, the ‘partera’, known as a midwife who helps women who are trying to or trying not to get pregnant, and then the ‘sobradores’ who specialize in massage therapy to help with healing. No matter the specialization, most curanderas strive to diagnose illnesses on the spiritual, physical, and emotional levels (Wigington, 2020).

Impact on Nursing

With some Hispanics having a low income, they might be leery to come in to see health care providers due to the cost of paying out of pocket and not having medical insurance. With all the resources that are out there, we can refer them to outside sources to help if they are not able to afford something the doctor may have ordered. By being fair no matter the situation, this will help them to feel comfortable and want to learn how they can better themselves or care for their illness.

Culturally Competent Care

Being aware of how the patient communicates is the first element to figure out. If they know English, but it is limited, it is best to obtain a professional translator (not a family member) to help translate the medical issues they have come in for. By using a translator, and not a family member, they will be sure that nothing gets misconstrued, and they understand it exactly as it will be happening.

By speaking with the patient, understanding their views on culture and religious practices, this will help to gain a good rapport with the patient because they will know that you care about their views. Their culture may include giving someone or multiple people in their family an update on them if they are not there with them at that current time. With their culture being family-oriented, this is something you should ask to make them feel at ease. They also use herbal remedies, so making sure to explain to them the use of some medications and herbs can contraindicate each other or cause adverse side effects.

With cardiovascular disease being prominent in the Hispanic culture, being sure to inform them of a healthy diet of eating fewer carbs and oils can help to inhibit this or prevent it from getting worse. With this disease, obesity, as well as diabetes, are a side factor that can come in to play. So being sure to educate them on signs and symptoms of diabetes or doing an HGA1C as a check-up to see how their glucose level is to diagnose or help treat can be a big help for their health.

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Hispanic Culture and Healthcare. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/hispanic-culture-in-healthcare/
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