JOURNAL ARTICLE

A case study of organisational Cultural Competence in mental healthcare

Jean Adamson, Nasir Warfa, Kamaldeep Bhui
BMC Health Services Research 2011 September 15, 11: 218
21920044

BACKGROUND: Ensuring Cultural Competence (CC) in health care is a mechanism to deliver culturally appropriate care and optimise recovery. In policies that promote cultural competence, the training of mental health practitioners is a key component of a culturally competent organisation. This study examines staff perceptions of CC and the integration of CC principles in a mental healthcare organisation. The purpose is to show interactions between organisational and individual processes that help or hinder recovery orientated services.

METHODS: We carried out a case study of a large mental health provider using a cultural competence needs analysis. We used structured and semi-structured questionnaires to explore the perceptions of healthcare professionals located in one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse areas of England, its capital city London.

RESULTS: There was some evidence that clinical staff were engaged in culturally competent activities. We found a growing awareness of cultural competence amongst staff in general, and many had attended training. However, strategic plans and procedures that promote cultural competence tended to not be well communicated to all frontline staff; whilst there was little understanding at corporate level of culturally competent clinical practices. The provider organisation had commenced a targeted recruitment campaign to recruit staff from under-represented ethnic groups and it developed collaborative working patterns with service users.

CONCLUSION: There is evidence to show tentative steps towards building cultural competence in the organisation. However, further work is needed to embed cultural competence principles and practices at all levels of the organisation, for example, by introducing monitoring systems that enable organisations to benchmark their performance as a culturally capable organisation.

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