The Vanderbilt Medical Center is an affiliated hospital to the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The hospital has different centers that treat various conditions. Among them is the Psychiatric department that takes care of both elderly and young citizens with mental disturbances (Vanderbilt Health, 2016). Dementia is one of the conditions of public health importance in the United States. Different hospitals have put in place measures to reduce the effect of its symptoms by applying culture-friendly approaches. The need for collaboration between different parties in treating the condition necessitates the use of culture-friendly methods that capitalizes on the available resources, social networks, and affordability.
Vanderbilt Medical Center serves clients from different cultures. Being predominantly in Nashville, then facility opens its doors to Whites, African-Americans, Hispanic, Asians and American Indians (Vanderbilt Health, 2016). These populations incline to different cultural practices have both direct and indirect impacts on their health. For instance, the minority groups in Nashville are less economically endowed that their White counterparts. Therefore, they prefer receiving services as outpatients. The groups also have varied intensities for their social support systems (Rovner, Casten & Harris, 2013). The African Americans, for instance, have close-knit families. The participation of the family in the treatment of dementia is imperative the patients receive professional care at hospitals, and they are also supported by caregivers at home. However, a significant number of nurses in the facility observe that the elderly Asians lack family support, particularly those who came into the country as immigrants. The Latinos on the other have poor health seeking behaviors which are attributed to lack of information and relatively low economic standards. Therefore, it is challenging to diagnose the lifestyle conditions among them until their symptoms become physically evident.
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Dementia affects the ability of the brain to function optimally through a gradual deterioration of the cognitive abilities (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). The most common symptom of the condition is manifested as a disruption of an individual’s daily activities due to poor coordination. Patients exhibit forgetfulness, emotional instability, and decreased motivation. Since dementia comes in old age, the intensity of the symptoms is worsened by the reduced physical abilities (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). If not treated, the patients may lose their memory, and they may become overly dependent on caregivers. Their safety is also affected as a result of their uncoordinated body movements, poor decision making and a poor perception of the environment around them (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). Therefore, understanding the cultural perception of the condition by different communities is imperative in designing the management methods.
Among the native whites, dementia is perceived as a serious condition and any early symptoms detected among the patients are reefed for medical attention. Their sensitivity to the condition is way higher than that of the other minority groups (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). Also, the cultural perception on the intensity of the symptoms also triggers spouses to be close to each other. This can be observed by the high number of elderly couples visiting the health facility (Vanderbilt Health, 2016). However, this is not common among the blacks. The African Americans do not consider the symptoms of dementia as detrimental to their health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they are more susceptible to contracting dementia than the Whites (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). However, they do not consider the symptoms as precarious to disrupting the normal life of the patients. The other minority groups including the Latinos, Hispanics and Asians also exhibit poor response to the symptoms of dementia. The hospital visits do not demonstrate a strong family perception of the condition’s symptoms. They are, therefore, susceptible to seeking for medical intervention when the condition shows the middle level symptoms.
The cultural interpretation has various effects on the dementia symptoms. It is noteworthy that seriousness with a given population takes the symptoms of dementia determine their health seeking behavior (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). Among the native whites, the symptoms are identified when they are still mild (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). The rationale for this is sensitive to the interpretation of the behavioral conditions. Spouse support is also imperative given that most of the patients are elderly living with their partners. The poor seeking behavior by the African-America, Hispanics, Latinos and Asians exacerbates the symptoms due to untimely management (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). While offering the services, Vanderbilt Medical Center considers the implications of the cultural beliefs. In the Hospital, the whites are less likely to be admitted as inpatients for non-serious symptoms, particularly those living with their spouses (Dewing & Dijk, 2016). However, those who do not have spouses are more likely to be put in the nursing center due to the weak family ties. The hospital also carries out sensitization campaigns to advocate for the early diagnosis and treatment of the different medical condition with dementia being one of them (Vanderbilt Health, 2016). This targets the minority groups with the intention of encouraging them to change their perception on dementia.
In conclusion, Vanderbilt Medical Center plays an instrumental role addressing the health needs of the population in Nashville and the neighboring towns. The institution’s facilities are visited by the Whites, African American, Hispanics, Latinos, and Asians. The communities have different cultural perceptions regarding dementia. This also affects their response to the condition’s symptoms. This also informs the services rendered by the hospital to individuals from specific groups.
Dewing, J., & Dijk, S. (2016). What is the current state of care for older people with dementia in general hospitals? A literature review. Dementia , 15 (1), 106-124.
Rovner, B. W., Casten, R. J., & Harris, L. F. (2013). Cultural diversity and views on Alzheimer’s disease in older African Americans. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders , 27(2), 133.
Vanderbilt Health (2016). Behavioral Health . retrieved from https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/psychiatrichospital/