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Organisational examples include being prepared to grapple with the challenges that cultural difference offers to long held notions of ‘business as usual’.

And being prepared to respond to the dynamics of difference by amending policies or changing customs and protocols that were never previously thought of as being expressions of a dominant culture.

But the service user may be from a particular Aboriginal community where resources are expected to be shared, and where a car with spare seats going from community to town is nonsense.

If the worker is from the same cultural group as the client, they may well be put under significant cultural pressure to adhere to the community values, while under workplace pressure to maintain policies and procedures.

Cultural safety describes a situation where clients can feel comfortable, accepted, and able to express themselves culturally, knowing that they are understood and do not need to explain themselves.

For instance, an organisation’s policies might prohibit anyone other than a service user being transported by a worker in the agency’s vehicle.

This adds to the complexity of cross-cultural contexts within community aged care.

Cultural diversity in your workforce is a significant asset to an organisation.

Current predictions are that by 2021, one in three seniors will have been born outside Australia.

At the individual level keep learning about different cultures – particularly the cultures of the clients you support.

At the organisational level, knowledge management will need to extend to managing cultural knowledge.

Initiatives for wellness and reablement will require organisations to innovate if bicultural workers, the client, their family and community have bound the notion of ‘doing for’ with their cultural expression of filial piety and respecting elders.

Developing organisational cultural competency should be a core continuous quality improvement process.

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