Chapter 2: Respecting and responding to cultural practice and traditions


Because language, and cultural expectations and practices affect communication, it's important to directly address any difficulties that may arise. You may find it difficult to understand the patient or their family members. You may not be sure they understand you

If you experience difficulties in communiction, check which language the family prefers to use. If it’s a language you don’t know, ask who might act as an interpreter. This could be a family member, neighbour, friend, or spiritual leader who’s trusted by the patient and their family. Alternatively, someone on your team or in the health region may speak their language. An interpreter may also help you understand the family’s cultural values, spiritual needs and religious practices.

Conversation Prompts

What language do you usually speak as a family? 

Are you comfortable communicating with me in English (or French)?

Who might act as an interpreter for us?