The Mexican culture has been characterized by their values, importance of family heritage, folk healing, religion and spirituality. There is also the relation of demographic features associated with the Mexican such as: low income, lack of education, and ethnic segregation. These characteristics have been known to cause cultural differences that can become barriers affecting the communication process with health care providers. Studies have shown that Mexicans are less likely to use the available health resources, because of their strong cultural differences with American Medicine. Studies also show that the Mexican poses a higher rate of poverty related health issues such as rheumatic fever, pneumonia, influenza, and infant mortality (Lippincott’s Nursing Center.com, 2007).
When they do use the healthcare system, they fear of experiencing discrimination. Their language and cultural become factors in the treatment that they are given. Within the Mexican culture family support is important. They provide each other with a support system consisting of extended family, folk healers, and religious institutions.
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When they choose to use the American medical services, it is influenced by their cultural and spiritual value and by folk theories of disease, remedies, and curers passed down from their ancestors. Mexican women are usually the support system and care for the elderly patients in their family; therefore Mexicans have a lower rate of using skilled home care nursing services. The Mexican health care perception is similar to Americans, such as concerns about humanistic care from healthcare professionals and being treated with dignity. The specific issues between the Mexicans and the American healthcare include language and immigration. (Lippincott’s Nursing Center.com, 2007) Mexican cultural practices do influence healthcare use, but the relationship is complex. Of particular importance is the curanderismo, folk-healing practices, which continues to be an important aspect of Mexican American culture. Often incorporating a religious component, curanderismo encompasses spiritual and emotional elements beyond the physiologic components of health. (Lippincott’s Nursing Center.com, 2007)
Another study done by the Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care, found that Mexican mothers required by the United States to immunize their children before they start school, expressed that it was important to have the health care encounter and documentation in the language which the mother was most comfortable speaking. This is for the importance of making informed choices for their children and to take adequate care of them after immunization. The study showed that the mothers believed that it was more important to speak in the mothers preferred language rather than the child, perhaps as a reflection of the mothers primary care-giving responsibilities (Keller RN, PhD, 2010).
The Mexican culture has been characteristically known to have cultural differences that can become barriers affecting the communication process with health care providers; therefore it is important for the health care professional to have a complete understanding of the principles of cross-cultural communication within the community that they serve.