Hispanic-Americans are among the largest minority groups in the United States. This group normally perceives health as a gift from God whether or not they participate in folk healing system or not. Health is seen as a reward for good behavior while illness is seen as punishment for bad behavior (Galarraga, 2007). In addition, supernatural triggers, imbalance between hot and cold, and envy are believed to cause illness in Hispanic-American culture.
A supernatural cause of ailment that comes from the environment is known as `mal de ojo` which result from over admiration. For example, if a person over compliments a new born baby on their beauty can cause a mal de ojo on the child that can result to sleeplessness, general melancholy or even serious illness. Due to this, parents normally protect their babies by covering them with a charm made from onyx (Galarraga, 2007). Envy by others of a person`s success can lead to illness.
An imbalance between cold and hot is believed to cause illness. For instance, one should avoid cold immediately after a hot experience. For instance, one should avoid going outside into the cold air after toasting coffee or ironing.
Folk medicine has a long standing place in their culture mostly among first generation Hispanics. Traditional healing is done by `Curanderos` or `Santeros`. Santeros use power of the saint in healing, counseling and aid people. Curanderos are naturalist healers who heal illnesses by use of herbs and plants. These healers are depended on throughout Hispanic American community for physical and psychological purposes regardless of a person`s socioeconomic status (Galarraga, 2007).
Curanderos are usually sought for empacho (stomach pains and cramps thought to be as a result of food clinging to the stomach). Empachos are treated by strong massage on the stomach which quickly improves the situation. However, a case where acute appendicitis was being treated by Curanderos as empacho and taken to hospital in critical condition has been reported (Galarraga, 2007).
Identify the Principles of Cross-Cultural Communication
Cross cultural communication can inhibit communication in health care provision in various ways. Various cultures have different ways of expressing themselves both orally or through body language. A misunderstanding in culture difference between the health care provider and the patient can mean the difference between quality care and ineffective care (Berenson, 2011). Hispanic Americans for instance are majorly Spanish speaking and it becomes difficult for them to communicate with healthcare providers. The need for a translator is usually necessary though not readily available. At times, gender differences may affect translation and translators must be of same gender as the patient to be able to convey the right message to the health provider. A child translator for a parent in Hispanic community presents a reverse authority dynamic and should only be used as a last resort (Galarraga, 2007).
In Spanish, telling a patient that results are positive has a different meaning. If doctor tells a patient that they have tested positive for HIV, the patient takes that everything is okay with them. They do not have HIV. This can be confusing and bring about devastating results. For instance, a culturally competent physician told a woman that her results for HIV were `positiva`, she took that everything was positive and went ahead and got pregnant without taking measures for preventing her baby from infection (Galarraga, 2007).
In addition, Hispanics expect the care provider to show empathy when attending to them. They expect the nurse or physician to hold their hand or shoulder while talking to them, maintain eye contact and any other gesture of care may facilitate care provision for a Hispanic-American patient. This is contrary to Islamic beliefs where touching of a patient is not encouraged especially with opposite sexes (Berenson, 2011). Hence cultural differences present barriers to health care provision in multivariate ways.
Berenson, L. (2011). Cultural competencies for nurses: impact on health and illness. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Galarraga, J. (2007). Hispanic-American Culture and Health. Retrieved http://www.cwru.edu/med/epidbio/mphp439/Hispanic_Healthcare.pdf (Accessed October 17, 2013).