Ask the expert: Meet the diverse needs of your patient population

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, June 23, 2009

This week, a reader asks how a facility can foster a nondiscriminatory climate where care is delivered in a manner that is sensitive to diversity. Read the response below from our advisor Gina Boring, BSN, RN, NE-BC, ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® project director at Aultman Health Foundation in Canton, OH.

Q: How can a facility foster a nondiscriminatory climate where care is delivered in a manner that is sensitive to diversity?

A: To meet diversity expectations under Component III: Exemplary professional practice, it is paramount to have a workforce that is well-informed of practices and available resources influencing care to a diverse population.

The first step in meeting the diverse needs of the community being served is to complete a demographic analysis of the surrounding communities and the populations seeking treatment and services within the organization. For example, a pediatric facility will have a vastly different focus than a long-term care facility for adults.

Discrimination against any person by an employee, whether based on race, color, nationality, disability, religion, sexuality, gender, or age, should be met with zero tolerance. Meeting diverse needs of patients and their families can be accomplished by providing diversity sensitivity at the bedside, such as taking special consideration for age, including the potential for increased falls and skin breakdown, or through the accommodation of guide dogs for the physically challenged. The availability of specialty meals (e.g., vegetarian, kosher, and halal), teletypewriter telephones and sign language interpreters for the deaf, patient information materials in languages other than English, and pastoral care services also help meet the diverse needs of patients and their families.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? If you would like us to consider your query for publication, please e-mail it to senior managing editor Rebecca Hendren at

Most Popular