Diversity in Care

Though diversity is everywhere, many people still search for a way on how to deal with diversity. In the healthcare sector patients and clients want to be treated as normal and as a unique individual concurrently. Many patients and clients belonging to one (or more) minority groups, regularly feel that they aren’t heard or that they have not received the proper care. Healthcare professionals are expected to act impartial and provide personal care, as well as act proactively, but these professionals feel powerless oftentimes. Management search for ways to promote unity and solidarity in their teams, while also trying to secure a diverse and safe working culture for all team members. Public officials and local governments are expected to translate (general) policy to daily practice and conversely make sure that daily practice connects with these (abstract) guidelines and the paper reality.

In a healthcare system that has many layers and where professionalism is measured by levels of impartiality, rationality and handling speed of the healthcare professionals, it is difficult to establish and maintain lasting personal contact. Researchers and teachers time and again have to develop and test new forms of interventions and have to present clear cut answers and teach how practices can be improved, without getting involved themselves. In the search to connect layers and disciplines and in providing healthcare, there are a growing number of informal healthcare volunteers and an increasing number of (local) self-help organizations and civic initiatives on healthcare, though the economic and moral scarcity means there is an ever mounting pressure on these healthcare volunteers.

This however demands sustained (instead of temporary) projects aimed on transformations of daily practice, policy, education and research. These projects will need to utilize creative methods wherein all involved players are equal partners. Assumed and well-established boundaries, knowledge and frameworks will have to be challenged. That way, diversity can become more than merely a ‘problem’ or ‘celebration’. It can evolve beyond mere words and usher in new inclusive ways of providing healthcare.