How to Have a Good Professional Relationship with Hispanic Patients

Hispanic Health ConceptsPeople who are classified as a Hispanic fall under different origins and cultures. The diversity among the different countries of origins of these individuals is highly considerable. But if there’s one thing that unifies them besides language, it would be their inherent requirements from health practitioners in providing them appropriate care.

Show Respeto

Members of the Hispanic community offer and expect to receive respect base on their age, sex and status. They will show a health provider respect because this person is an authority figure with high social, educational and economic status. In return, they also expect to receive respect as the patients.

A health provider may show respect by doing the following:

  • Latinos appreciate being addressed by their titles or family names
  • They want to shake hands upon first meeting
  • Making eye contact
  • Speak directly to the patient, even if there is an interpreter

Show Personalismo

Patients from Hispanic communities want to establish a personal and professional one-one-one relationship with their health providers. This will help them feel more comfortable and trust their doctors. Although it may sound time consuming, it can help save time in the long run because it reduces misunderstanding of treatments and non-compliance with care from the patient.

A health provider can establish personalismo by:

  • Treat patients in a warm and friendly, yet formal manner
  • Show genuine interest and concern for patients and get to know their background and families
  • Sitting at a comfortable distance and using gestures to show care and concern

Involve the Family in Decision-Making and Care

The Hispanics are very family-oriented and they expect their loved ones to be a part of their decision-making, especially ones that are involved in medical concerns. They also have a broader definition of the family which is not limited to only the parents and siblings but includes grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins too.

The Hispanics are known to show full support and loyalty to their family which is why they gather at the hospital when one of them is ill. Health providers must understand that whatever noise or confusion may result from such ‘gatherings’ contribute to the well-being of both the patient and his or her family.

Respect the Spiritual Side of Physical Complaints

Unlike white Americans, the Hispanics are very superstitious. They would greatly appreciate if their health practitioners respect their belief of the supernatural and psychological causes of ailments. Most of the Latin patients feel that doctors only offer a fragmentary approach to care because of this. As a solution to this usual misunderstanding, a health practitioner is encouraged to ask the patient of the cause of their complaint and refrain from ridiculing the patient’s personal belief.

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