Cultural competence for Health personnel

Photo of hands holding one piece of a pussle each.
lev dolgachov

Sweden has become a more multicultural society in recent decades due to migration. Migrants have a higher proportion of ill health compared with the rest of the population in Sweden, which is why staff in the health care system will meet these people. Difficulties in applying a person-centred approach in the meetings between staff and patient can arise. Differences in culture and language can make the interaction complex and lead to misunderstandings, where the interventions are at risk of not being culturally relevant for the individual. Developing cultural competence for personnel can be one approach to deal with and overcome these difficulties.

Cultural competence require staff to be aware of the culture’s effects the individual's perceptions and behaviors and staff need to adapt their strategies to work effectively with individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Based on studies focusing on the development of the Swedish version of Cultural competence Assessment Instrument (CCAI-S), utility has been investigated and psychometric tests have been carried out which have generated a clinical sound instrument that can support staff's development of cultural competence. CCAI-S aims for staff in different activities who meet clients with different cultural backgrounds to be able to get an idea of their own cultural competence. The instrument contains the components Openness and Awareness, Interaction Skills and Organizational Support based on 13 items. Through these items, the staff is given the opportunity to increase their awareness of their own cultural competence in relation to patients / clients with various cultural backgrounds. CCAI-S can also be used as a basis for training initiatives. This can promote to becoming more person-centred and thereby affect evidence, which can contribute to the development and efficiency of the organization.

CCAI-S is translated and cultural adapted by Jane Holstein, Gunilla Liedberg and Anette Kjellberg at the Unit for Occupational Therapy, Linköping University. The original instrument is called the Cultural Competence Assessment Instrument (CCAI-UIC) and is developed at the Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA by Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Balcazar, F., Taylor-Ritzler, T., Portillo, N., Rodakowski, J., Garcia-Ramirez, M., & Willis.

In order to develop cultural competence among staff, access to a psychometric sound instrument is not enough, but training efforts are also needed. Today, there is a lack of education for interprofessional staff groups in Sweden in cultural competence and an upcoming research project will develop and test a training in the area.

The instrument comprises the components

  1. Openness and awareness
  2. Interaction skills
  3. Organisational support

Published studies


External partner