Cross-cultural healthcare research has grown exponentially in recent years, focusing primarily on the healthcare-related needs of ethnic and linguistic minorities. However, by approaching cultural sensitivity from an ethnic/linguistic perspective, the practitioner runs the risk of relying on essentialized or stereotyped accounts of cultural groups, as well as overlooking the needs of other groups (e.g., gays, elderly, physically challenged) that may validly be viewed as cultures and profitably studied with the tools of cross-cultural scholarship. This essay argues that Hofstede’s paradigm of cultural dimensions can serve as a useful foundation for providing culturally sensitive care following the model of Universal Precautions as a metaphor.




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