Culturally responsive service planning addresses cultural diversity across all levels of service design and development, thereby ensuring services that meet the needs of everyone in the community.
Analysis of the demographics of the local community is vital to service planning. Demographic analysis assists new services in the identification of potential service users, while existing services can assess how well they are reaching local communities.
Ideally, the demographics of the area will be reflected in your client base.
Once you have analysed the demographics of your service area and identified potential service users - or discovered communities that your service is not adequately reaching - the next step is to conduct a needs assessment. Needs assessments help to identify gaps in existing services, and the extent to which services are known, understood and utilised by specific groups within the community. This data can then be used in all areas of service planning and development.
One of the best ways to identify the needs of local communities is to conduct community consultations when plans for services are developed and reviewed. Regular consultations ensure accessible and appropriate service provision by facilitating community participation in service development.
Implementing communication systems so that care recipients and their families can provide feedback on planning objectives and contribute to the continuous improvement system in their preferred language will help to ascertain how well you are meeting needs through existing services.
- Analyse the demographics of the local catchment area or those pertaining to the targeted group/s when planning services and programs.
- Identify local community organisations to establish networks for consultation.
- Conduct regular community consultations at relevant stages of service design and development to identify community needs.
- Include community representatives in your decision-making processes about services - eg include community representatives on planning and review committees.
- Regularly assess how well the cultural, linguistic and religious needs of care recipients are met through existing policies, procedures and practices.
- Communicate the organisation's planning objectives to care recipients and their families in their preferred language, and offer a variety of ways to provide feedback - eg written comment, interviews and group discussion.
- Enable care recipients and their families to contribute to the continuous improvement system in their preferred language.
Additional Resources and Links
- Cultural Competency in Health: A guide for policy, partnerships and participation
National Health and Medical Research Council
- National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing