The association between health and culture: The perspective of older adult hospital in-patients in Israel

Ahuva Even-Zohar*, Varda Shtanger, Anat Israeli, Emma Averbuch, Gad Segal, Haim Mayan, Shmuel Steinlauf, Alex Galper, Eyal Zimlichman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People from different cultures are often hospitalized while the staff treating them do not have sufficient knowledge about the attitudes and feelings of the patients regarding culture and health. To fill this gap, the aim of this study was to examine the perspective of Israeli older adult hospital in-patients regarding the association between health and culture and to understand the meaning of the participants’ experiences with regards to the medical staff’s attitude towards them. This study was carried out using qualitative methodology that followed the interpretive interactionism approach. The research participants were 493 (mean age 70.81, S.D.: 15.88) in-patients at internal care departments at a hospital in Israel who answered an open-ended question included in the questionnaire as part of a wide study held during 2017 to 2018. Two main themes were found: (1) a humane attitude of respect and the right to privacy and (2) beliefs, values, and traditional medicine that are passed down through generations. The findings highlighted the issue of the patients’ cultural heritage and ageist attitudes they ascribed to the professional staff. This study provided recommendations for training the in-patient hospital workforce on the topic of cultural competence, beginning from the stage of diagnosis through treatment and to discharge from the hospital, in order to improve the service.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6496
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2 Jun 2021


FundersFunder number
Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research174/2015


    • Ageism
    • Culture
    • Health
    • Hospital in-patients
    • Older adults


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