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Keywords:

  • cultural sensitivity training;
  • randomised controlled trial;
  • health care providers' attitudes;
  • health outcomes

Purpose:To determine the effectiveness of cultural sensitivity training on the knowledge and attitudes of health care providers, and to assess the satisfaction and health outcomes of patients from different minority groups with health care providers who received training.

Design:In this randomised controlled trial, 114 health care providers (nurses and homecare workers) and 133 patients (from two community agencies and one hospital) were randomly assigned to experimental (training) and control groups, and were followed for 18 months.

Methods:Providers completed the Cultural Awareness Questionnaire and the Dogmatism Scale. Patients completed the Off-Axis-Ratio (OAR) Multidimensional Measure of Functional Capacity, the Client Satisfaction Questionnaire, the Physical and Mental Health Assessment Questionnaire, and the Health and Social Services Utilization Questionnaire. A qualitative analysis was conducted to identify and analyse themes from personal journals kept by participating nurses.

Findings:Cultural sensitivity training resulted in increased open-mindedness and cultural awareness, improved understanding of multiculturalism, and ability to communicate with minority people. After 1 year patients of mostly European and British origin, who received care from trained providers, showed improvement in utilizing social resources and overall functional capacity without an increase in health care expenditures.

Conclusions:The results of this study indicate that a cultural sensitivity training program not only improved knowledge and attitudes among health care providers, but it also yielded positive health outcomes for their patients.