Professional psychologists have a tough time dealing with their patients and the society as well. They have to acquit themselves with particular skills and knowledge about the ethnic communities and races. These specialists work very closely with people of different groups, who, in most cases, share different ideologies. Different people fall into different categories, depending on gender, age, cultural or ethnic beliefs and traditions, personal beliefs and values, superiority or minority status, and levels of actualization and assimilation. To be successful as a psychologist, one needs to understand their responsibilities and the above named attributes of their patients.
The psychologists often take into consideration these attributes when they are dealing with the clients. There are some factors that influence most patients and at times can make them fail to seek psychiatric care (American Psychological Association). Some of those factors are mentioned below.
Some races and ethnic communities believe in family interdependence. They believe that they should only seek help from the members of their family in some or all circumstances. Such people rarely seek care from professionals, and this gives the care givers such a rough time when dealing with them.
Other ethnic communities have different levels of actualization. In these communities or ethnic groups, these people do not know exactly the work of some psychologists. A good example is a family care giver. Some people view them as people with intention of intruding into their family matters, which is not the case actually.
Lastly, fear of stigmatization among people. Different ethnic communities view stigmatization on different levels. Some people fear the stigmatization that is associated with certain diseases and disabilities. Some psychological characteristics are also stigmatizing. In some communities, psychological patients tend to hide from the public making them very difficult to access.
These people end up not receiving the appropriate professional and social support that they need. They also make themselves unavailable to access the care. Such challenges are experienced among the African ethnicities, which have often not changed from their traditional ways, or still borrow some attributes.
This is a degree at which different people seek, process, and get to understand the information and all the services that they need as it concerns their health. This helps them to make the most important decisions about their health.
The care givers and the people they are giving such care need to have a lot of information on certain aspects so as to be in a good position to maintain good health and social care to the people. Such information includes:
Health information – this includes all the information from different sources about the health of a certain person or group of persons, including what affects them frequently, and how they view health and healthcare giving. This will help the care giver to understand people from different ethnicities and races. They understand how they relate with the care givers they are dealing with.
Healthcare promotion and prevention of diseases – this means understanding the importance and the actions that are related to screening, testing, and changes in lifestyle. Different ethnic people and races have different ways of promoting health and preventing diseases. The health practitioner ought to understand these, so that they can relate well with them.
Treatment of chronic diseases – this involves a good understanding of the process and sticking to the strict guidelines of treating such regimens. This involves how to start self-care, and technology to manage such diseases. Just like promotion of health, the health care practitioners will have to understand how the community behaves and treats such patients.
Acute care – this involves how to deal with acute diseases, how to break the news of such to family, friends and the patients themselves. It also includes the management of such acute health complications. The practitioners are more effective when they are treating patients from a well-informed perspective of their traditions and believe towards such illness.
Mistakes in medicine – it requires a lot of vigilance to avoid any errors that are related to giving medication, barriers in communication, and taking such medication.
Both the health care giver and the people seeking healthcare would say they have reached good levels of literacy if they are able to solve complex medical problems such as managing chronic complications. The level of ability to manage varies between the patients and the care givers, where the care givers must have superiority. Use of technology and procession of rhetorical skills such as advocating for ones rights is another sign of literacy (American Psychological Association).
Low levels of literacy across different ethnic groups and races lead to several consequences. These are:
Prevention and screening of serious health conditions are not done effectively. This means that some of these will go undetected and sometimes not being treated.
People will visit heath care givers only during emergencies. In most cases, they seek care when the complications have developed and in advance stages which are often difficult to treat. This means that they need hospitalization which could have been earlier avoided.
People often have poor understanding of the options that they have for treatment and health. They could also not be in a good position to adhere to the regimens of medical healthcare.
The advance consequence of lack of literacy means that the costs of healthcare are increased due to the consequences mentioned earlier. This could also mean that these people would die earlier than anticipated.
To overcome such barriers, a psychologist has to maintain high levels of awareness among their patients, have a good understanding of their language, their capabilities, social differences, and culture. This will help them to avoid any conflicts when giving healthcare (Smedley, Brian , Adrienne ,& Alan R. Nelson, 2011).
The healthcare practitioner needs to have strategies that will help them accommodate their clients who have low levels of literacy on health and healthcare.
Lastly, the care giver should support the clients, be sensitive to any developments, not blame the clients for anything, and take note of the environmental factors like signs that are shown by the clients.
Disparities in healthcare
Giving healthcare, more so to a loved one is in most cases very challenging. As Justin told me, giving care exposes a person to a lot of physical problems, psychological challenges, and psychosocial disadvantages such as being isolated from people, and poverty. However, the challenges that are experienced by those giving care differ across different races and ethnic groups. There are also a lot of differences between physical and mental challenges that are faced by experienced as non experienced care givers, as Justine (2013) said. Care givers across different societies and ethnic backgrounds face different challenges as well.
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Among values that are related to giving care is familism. It involves the feelings that make a member of a family feel the need to be loyal and uphold solidarity among family members. They help each other in times of health complications. They regard the families as the basic sources of support, both socially and financially. As Justine (2013) told me, she expected to take care of her mother according to their ethnic believes. Another value is time. Most people place a low value when it comes to adherence to time. Most people from different races have different attitude towards appointments. This leads to problems where clients need attention and services that are highly structured. For example, African Americans have less regards to keeping appointments as compared to the whites.
Most groups and families are highly religious. They uphold high spiritual believes and activities. Family care givers usually relay a lot on such believes. Justine usually prays for her mother more than two times a day, when they wake up and just before they go to sleep in the evening.
Most people consider religion and their religious believes capable to help them in coping with life events that are in most cases stressful. Many care givers relay on religion to muster courage and strength to support their patients and encourage them. For example, Christians relay on several biblical events such as the story of Job who was healed from a disease. This gives them courage and helps to realize that some day they will recover from their illness.
In most cases, the care giver who used religious beliefs and practices to give care often had a better working relationship with their patients. This is most practical if people receiving care share similar believes as those used when giving them care. A good example is the doctrine of brotherhood among Muslims. Muslims do take much care to achieve well being of each other. This means that the Muslim care givers and the care recipients are comfortable when relating with each other.
In most cases, the care givers taking care of patients who have various disabilities and illnesses are said to use a lot of religious strategies. For example, in most hospitals, adverts claim that they treat but God heals. This shows how much they believe in God as a healer.
In most cases, people pray for the ill. Justine (2013) told me how she prays for her mother more than two times a day. This proves that most people in the world believe in prayer. Prayer gives the patients and their care givers some extra strength that makes them stronger to manage through the tough times.
Among most African communities, religious and spiritual givers offer protection to people against negative health and psychological outcomes. Some African communities have traditional priests who give the society protection over diseases and illnesses. In the event of illness, these priests’ intervention is sort. In the modern society, religious leaders are sort to help seek divine intervention. Muslims seek intervention from Sheiks and Imams, while Christians seek the help of fathers and pastors. In most ethnic setups, the religious leaders who are regarded as having significantly higher levels of religiosity are treated with more significance than those with lower levels (Smedley, Brian , Adrienne & Alan R. Nelson). For example, a Roman Catholic would prefer to see a pope than an archbishop.
Religious care givers among the African societies report higher rates of religious levels than those of the whites. The African care givers also have fewer cases of depression than their white counterparts do. This shows that religion cannot be undermined when it comes to giving care. It plays a vital role throughout the process.
Utilization of service and selection
In most cases, there is under-utilization of the services that are available and aimed to give health and social care to people. This is because there is diversity in culture between the care givers and the intended recipients (Pearson). Some of the reasons for the diversity are as follows.
There could be a limitation in language. This is when the care giver and the recipients have barriers in communication. This could limit the resources that can be offered to the recipients. Poor communication between the care givers and the recipients leads to misunderstanding, which could also lead to commission of medical mistakes (Pearson).
Some patients can have believes regarding certain treatment practices that may not be understandable or acceptable to the care givers or the opposite. This leads to a delay in delivery of the healthcare service. This also limits effective communication between the heath care providers and the recipients. This ends up slowing or impeding delivery of health care to the patients.
There can be mistrust between care givers and professionals. This is facilitated by cultural mistrust and resistance to change that could be not reasonable. For example, some African societies do not believe in seeking specialized healthcare in times of illness. They seek divine intervention. Such practices and believes are an impediment to delivery of specialized healthcare to patients.