The cultural background of the patient and of the patient’s family can impact the administration of medication. Cultural influences are learned values, beliefs, customs, and behavior.
These influences include the patient’s belief about health such as:
For example, a patient who is a coal miner may believe that all coal miners will eventually have lung cancer. In that case, the patient feels there is no benefit to stop smoking. Another patient may avoid taking pain medication for fear that they might become addicted.
Some cultures have their own beliefs about how to prevent and cure disease. For example, although garlic does lower blood pressure, taking garlic as an herbal cure might be dangerous if the patient is also taking antihypertensive medication because the patient’s blood pressure could be lowered too much. Herbal remedies are preferred by some cultures over traditional Western medicine and some patients continue herbal treatment even when a mild illness progresses to a critical level.
Healthcare providers can have different beliefs than their patients. A patient may refuse any treatment because of the sole belief in the healing power of prayer. Healthcare providers must be nonjudgmental and tolerate alternative beliefs in healthcare even if those beliefs are harmful to the patient. When confronted with cultural differences that can result in an adverse effect to the patient, healthcare providers can educate the patient about the benefits of medications and treatment and the risk that the patient is exposed to by not following recommended treatment. This information is sometimes best given while the healthcare provider is assessing the patient. The nurse should be careful to remain nonjudgmental about the patient’s decisions.
Cultural beliefs can also influence who makes healthcare decisions for the family. In most cultures, women are typically responsible for managing the family’s health. However, in some cultures, although the female is responsible for providing and obtaining care, the oldest male is seen as the head of the family and the authority figure for making overall decisions such as when to access healthcare.
The way the patient communicates with healthcare providers is greatly influenced by individual culture. Here are factors to consider when communicating with a patient:
Besides cultural differences, there are also ethnic and racial differences in the physiological response to drugs. As you’All recall from Chapter (Drug Action and Drug Interactions) , pharmacogenetics is the study of the influence genetics have on a drug response. For example children with Reyes Syndrome, which is a liver disease, cannot metabolize aspirin because of a genetic defect.
Likewise, a genetic factor in African-Americans makes them less responsive to beta-blocking agents used in cardiac and antihypertensive medications. Asians have a genetic factor that causes undesirable side effects when given the typical dose of benzodiazepines (diazepam [Valium]) alprazolam [Xanax], tri cyclic antidepressants, atropine, and propranol [Inderal]. Therefore, a lower dose must be given.
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An Inside Look At Pharmacology
Drug Action And Drug Interactions
Pharmacology And The Nursing Process
Principles Of Medication Administration
Route Of Administration
Vitamins And Minerals
Fluid And Electrolyte Therapy
Nutritional Support Therapies
Antimicrobials— Fighting Infection
Nervous System Drugs
Cardiac Circulatory Medications
Disorders Of The Eye And Ear
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