Why an encyclopedia of cultural differences project dedicated to caregivers?
Because of its colonial history, its geographical position and its image as a country of Human Rights, France is a multicultural territory where a large number of men and women of foreign origins and cultures live together.
Also, since the year 2000, the combination of political and economic crises around the Mediterranean basin has led to population displacements towards Western European countries, including France.
On a daily basis, our health care providers have to take care of patients of foreign origin and/or culture, something that our health care system has, until now, trained them for very little, if at all.
What is the PATIENTIPI project?
Dedicated to healthcare professionals, Patientipi is a collaborative encyclopedia project that lists the cultural differences that are useful to know when caring for a foreign patient.
The platform aims to help caregivers develop their “cultural skills”, which will enable them to better understand and dialogue with their patients of foreign origin and culture.
For healthcare institutions and professionals, knowing how to understand these cultural differences is very useful and offers various medical and economic advantages.
For example, it is a valuable aid to diagnosis, facilitating the establishment of a relationship of trust with the patient, and encouraging adherence to the treatment protocol.
The development of cultural competence will also help avoid misunderstandings, misinterpretations, refusals of care and sometimes even violence (which has been on the rise in recent years).
Some documents on the subject
Interculturality in the context of health care is a subject regularly addressed in the North American medical literature and is the subject of numerous dissertations in France. Here are some examples:
Lien : http://docplayer.fr/1415302-La-prestation-de-soins-adaptes-a-la-culture.html
Lien : https://www.infirmiers.com/pdf/tfe-camille-ruch.pdf
Lien : https://mail.google.com/mail/u/3/?tab=wm&ogbl#sent/FFNDWLvtlzppxLkCpCFDXlFgdnrHQkdD
Tip for caregivers
How to get a first idea of the influence of the patient's culture on his health?
Caregivers, to measure the influence of your patient’s culture on his or her health and adapt your approach, you can first ask these 3 simple questions:
From his answers, you will then know what level of pedagogy you will have to put in place in front of your patient, in order to explain the cause of his symptoms and the reason for the chosen treatment, on a scientific level.
"Our cultures convey
our different ways of seeing the world
and evolve with the times.
For this reason, the Patientipi encyclopedia
encyclopedia must be considered as a living and evolving resource.
Cultural competence in health care settings
When faced with a patient from a foreign background/culture, cultural competence allows one to:
To know the beliefs and practices of the patient that could be the cause of his symptoms,
To better understand their behaviors and reactions to the ailments they suffer from,
Reduce the risks of misunderstandings, misinterpretations and unspoken words,
To gain his confidence in order to convince him more easily to adhere to the treatment protocol and thus improve compliance with the treatment,
Prevent refusal of care and acts of violence (on the rise),
Explain to the patient that one of his cultural practices may be contraindicated during the treatment,
To become aware of one’s own culture in order to better accept the other.
Other advantages of the platform
The collaborative nature, to :
Learn collectively through the sharing of knowledge between caregivers,
Share “Examples of cases encountered” and propose, or be proposed solutions,
To train throughout one’s career,
Valuing the universal character of the caregiver, by allowing him/her to become “World Caregiver”.
The integrated audio translation module, for :
Reassure the patient who does not understand or speak our language,
Talk with him (and his family) when an interpreter is not available,
Ask about symptoms, medications, known allergies, etc,
Save time by avoiding unnecessary and costly tests.
Possible limitations and criticisms
"This encyclopedia can lead to the spread of certain stereotypes."
This guide to intercultural relations could, at first glance, be perceived as a caricatured approach to foreign patients, conveying stereotypes.
Everyone knows that it is never good to generalize and that each person is unique. This being said, the fact remains that men and women from the same country, from the same community, all share a common base of values and beliefs, inculcated consciously or unconsciously by their environment, their education and their level of training.
Patientipi simply aims to help the caregiver in his or her diagnosis and relational approach, based on cultural information that has been identified and verified.
"Automated translation still makes mistakes."
Today, there is still room for improvement in computer-assisted translation technology. Nevertheless, it is very useful to get in touch with a patient in the absence of an interpreter.
If our teams manage to integrate a translation module into the platform, it will use the very famous Google Translate technology, which, thanks to artificial intelligence and the millions of users who use it, is improving every day.
Although this is obviously the preferred solution, human interpreters are not infallible either and can make mistakes, as they may not be familiar with common medical vocabulary and will not dare to point this out to the doctor.
In the absence of interpreters, we believe that a computer-assisted translation solution is still preferable to no communication at all.
It is also noteworthy that this computerized solution allows the caregiver to communicate without emotional filters or taboos that distort the message, something that is almost impossible when a relative serves as interpreter, especially when it is the patient’s own child. It is good to know that in some cultures, certain words are not pronounced and where, very often, it is not possible to talk about death between members of the same family (especially in the Maghreb culture).
How is a Patientipi page composed?
1 page Country / 7 sections
In order to save caregivers time, the information on each country page is composed of 7 distinct thematic sections, making it very quick to read.
These themes are :
General information: elements to visualize the patient’s country in a global way: location, demography, average salary, literacy rate, life expectancy, spoken languages,
Communication: Cultural specificities related to verbal and non-verbal communication (distance between people, gestures, attitudes, mimics…), to help you interpret them;
Beliefs, practices & rituals: The habits and customs related to the culture, the environment, the religion…
Eating habits: Typical dishes, whose composition could be the cause of certain symptoms,
Pregnancy and maternity: beliefs, practices or taboos that may surround the family during maternity in some cultures,
End of life care: information on how death is approached in some communities,
Case histories: identified examples of issues (and solutions) related to a patient’s culture that can be used to enrich the community’s knowledge.