Posted: May 6, 2020

Cultural Competency For Facility Tours

As the second largest county in California, San Diego is one of the most diverse counties in the country.  14% of San Diego county’s population is 65 years and older with significant Hispanic, Asian, African American, and veteran populations.  Consequently, the RCFE Core of Knowledge of cultural competence is relevant for administrators and staff working in San Diego based assisted living homes in order to better meet the needs of diverse aging populations.  


Culture is the shared values, traditions, norms, customs, arts, history, folklore, and institutions of a group of people.  Specifically, factors that influence culture include, but are not limited to: 


  • Age

  • Beliefs and values

  • Educational attainment

  • Family and community support 

  • Gender identity and sexual orientation 

  • Individual experiences

  • Length of residency in the United States

  • Linguistic affinity

  • Place of birth

  • Race and ethnicity

  • Socioeconomic status


Cultural competence is defined as “a set of cultural behaviors and attitudes integrated into the practice methods of a system, agency, or its professionals, that enables them to work effectively in cross cultural situations.”  While facilities may be trained in providing culturally competent care to diverse residents, it is also important to implement cultural competence when giving facility tours to potential residents.  Facility tours can affect a potential client’s experience based on cultural accommodations they receive from staff and perceive about the facility.  Some residents may specifically look for cultural characteristics, such as staff language proficiency, dietary preferences, and respect for cultural differences.   


Potential residents and family look for qualities of a home that will allow them to feel comfortable, no matter their cultural affiliations.  They may prioritize cultural preferences in environment, staff, amenities, services, medical care, and the demographics of the other residents. This is why facility staff should understand how culture 1) increases the understanding of values, attitudes, and behaviors of others, 2) avoids stereotypes and bias that may undercut efforts, and 3) plays a critical role in services that are receptive to needs of residents.  


When giving facility tours, it is important to implement cultural considerations when showcasing the facility, services, and staff.  Consider the items below to incorporate cultural competence during facility tours.

  1. If possible, learn about the guests before they arrive.  If you are able to get insight on your visitors ahead of time, you can better prepare for potential cultural needs.  

  2. Treat everyone equally.  Do not make judgements based on the appearance of potential residents and family. 

  3. Speak slowly and deliberately.  It is a good practice to have clear speech when giving tours in case English is not the primary language of visitors. Explaining things more than once may be helpful.  

  4. Learn to properly pronounce guests’ names.  Ask guests how to properly pronounce their names and address them during the facility tour.

  5. Respect physical boundaries.  Use your best judgement to see when physical touch is or is not appropriate.  When you do not know, it is best to keep hands to yourself. Different cultures have various perceptions on physical boundaries.  

  6. Show interest in where guests are from.  This shows your willingness to get to know them on a personal level and to see if your facility has applicable cultural accommodations.    


In addition to training, using the guidelines above will assist staff in giving culturally competent facility tours.  Cultural considerations apply not only to current residents, but to anyone who calls or steps into your facility.  Broadening this core of knowledge will assist in enhanced care for the diverse aging population as a whole.