This page provides tips and best practices from grantees on cultural competency.
Washington: The Project Access Grant funds in Washington State allowed a contractor to hire a Spanish speaking nurse case manager who greatly benefited children, their families, school personnel, and physicians in an underserved community. She partnered with school nurses to review children's files to identify those with seizure disorders then contacted families and set up home visits. Some families were very resistant to having someone in their home, fearing immigration, child protective services, or other governmental involvement. Using an independent contracted nurse who lived in the community and spoke Spanish was a huge advantage and increased the willingness of families to work with schools, physicians, and specialists.
Through home visits the nurse learned about issues families were engaged in. At one visit, the nurse learned the mom of a school age child stopped giving the prescribed medication because it was too expensive and the child had not had a seizure in six months. The mom reported she had not told the primary care provider, school nurse, or teaching about stopping the medication. The nurse then learned the father gave the child a dose of medication "on occasion". The contracted nurse was able to work with the PCP and the school nurse to develop an appropriate care plan for the child.
Using a culturally competent care coordinator improved medical management for children, reduced family stress, increased family/professional partnerships and benefited students and classroom teachers. Unfortunately the service ended with the grant and current local funding challenges prohibit alternative funding in these difficult economic times.