CQC launches new online resource to support culturally appropriate care

Published: 20 May 2021 Page last updated: 12 May 2022

Holistic, person-centred care has always been important, but during the Coronavirus pandemic it has become even more critical that we are all aware of culturally appropriate care.

This is because people using services may have less contact with people that understand and affirm their culture - for example, family and friends. They may have spent more time over the course of the pandemic and lockdown with people who do not share their culture - for example in a care home. Culturally appropriate care can also be especially significant, for example, when people are at the end of their life or lose someone close to them.

Culturally appropriate care is about being sensitive to people's cultural identity or heritage. It means being alert and responsive to people’s beliefs or conventions that might be determined by a person’s culture. This is why we have launched our web resource today which updates guidance for providers on culturally appropriate care. It contains examples and good practice to help care providers think about different ways people’s culture might affect the way they wish to receive their care and support.

Cultural identity or heritage can cover a range of things. It might be based on ethnicity, nationality or religion. Or it might be to do with the person's sexuality or gender identity; for example, whether they are Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. It may also have to do with Deaf people who use British Sign Language, who also have a specific cultural identity.

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said

“It is essential that we highlight the need for culturally appropriate care in Adult Social Care settings. So many people have suffered heart-breaking separation from family and loved ones as they have been unable to spend time together in person for a prolonged period of time This has had an especially significant impact on people who live in care settings but find that those around them don’t understand their culture and may make assumptions which are not correct or appropriate.

Everyone is part of a culture. People need their culture to be recognised and their cultural needs met to feel happy and comfortable. But some people's cultural needs are more likely to be met because they are closer to cultural norms in the service. That is why we are providing this resource to support providers in order to meet these needs and maintain high quality care for everyone.”

Lyn Romeo, Fran Leddra, Chief Social Worker for Adults at DHSC, said

“Ensuring that people are supported in directing and leading their care is crucial to recognising their strengths, their experiences and their social context. Understanding the importance of cultural influences and identity in a person’s life is central to treating people with respect and dignity and ensures a personalised care and support plan that helps people achieve the outcomes that they want. 

We are therefore delighted that CQC have produced this comprehensive guidance on culturally appropriate care for providers and practitioners.”

At a time where Covid-19 has prevented families and communities coming together, this guidance is even more important. “

Our new web resource contains important guidance on:

  • Why culturally appropriate adult social care is more important during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • How culturally appropriate care is relevant to the regulations and our key questions
  • Key points for everyone working in adult social care
  • More key points for registered managers
  • More key points for senior staff and keyworkers
  • More key points for care staff
  • Examples of culturally appropriate care
  • Cultural values

Understanding and communicating well with people of different cultures is about person-centred care. Often, only small changes are needed to make a big difference to people. The most important things for providers to do include:

  • asking people – or those who represent them - questions, especially if you are unsure
  • understanding and meeting people's preferences
  • being curious about what are the important components to supporting people to live their fullest lives