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Culturally competent care

Cultural competency is interacting successfully with people from various ethnic and/or cultural groups. Cultural health beliefs and language barriers can have a profound effect in health care. Understanding someone's cultural background helps in providing the best care for the patient.

Delivering culturally competent care is one of the four goals of our diversity initiative. Our efforts towards this goal:

Language — We offer interpreter services 24 hours a day in languages other than English for all patients and their families. We also have services to help deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. All of our emergency departments have video interpreters to meet the needs of our patients.

Physical access — We have reviewed all Legacy sites to improve access for diverse populations, namely the physical impairments and with hearing and site issues. We are making improvements across our system to improve access.

Health literacy — Health literacy is the ability to understand and act on health information. As a way to improve our care, Legacy has focused since 2010 on health literacy — working to make sure that our doctors and nurses speak and write in a way that our patients and families understand. We have a plain language policy across the system that has:

  • Trained thousands of employees on "teach back" as a way to talk with patients
  • Given a class to hundreds of employees on writing in more simple language
  • Put in place a policy that all patient education material be at the sixth-grade reading level

In addition, Legacy has hosted a Health Literacy Conference for health care professionals across the region since 2010, taking the lead in health literacy.

Patient satisfaction — We review our patient satisfaction surveys, looking for issues for our minority patients, while also establishing a way to evaluate the patient experience of non-English-speaking patients and families.

Race, Ethnicity and Language (REAL) — The REAL initiative helps us collect accurate demographic information for  patients. Having this information give Legacy valuable information to track health outcomes and offer appropriate services to all patients.

Cultural competency education — We are offering cultural competency to all nurses and leaders and looking at ways to offer such training to doctors.