A review and clinical practice guideline for health professionals working with indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations during COVID-19

Rony Kayrouz*, Carlie Schofield, Olav Nielssen, Eyal Karin, Lauren Staples, Nickolai Titov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Background: As the rates of infection and mortality from COVID-19 have been higher in minority groups, the communication of health information in a way that is understood and accepted is of particular importance. 

Aims: To provide health professionals with a clinical practice guideline for clear and culturally sensitive communication of health information about COVID-19 to people of Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. 

Assessment of Guideline Options: The authors conducted a review of the literature on health communication, and the guidelines were developed with particular reference to the SPIKES protocol of “breaking bad news” in oncology and the use of the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI). 

Actionable Recommendations: The guideline combines two approaches, the Cultural Formulation Interview, developed for DSM-5, and the SPIKES protocol used for delivering “bad news” in oncology. The combined CFI-SPIKES protocol is a six-step clinical practice guideline that includes the following: (1) Set up (S) the interview; (2) Determine how the patient perceives the problem (P) using the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) to elicit the patient's cultural perception of the problem; (3) Obtain an invitation (I) from the patient to receive a diagnosis; (4) Provide the patient knowledge (K) of diagnosis in a non-technical way; (5) Address the patient's emotional reaction (E) to diagnosis; and (6) Provide the patient a summary (S) of healthcare and treatment. 

Conclusions and Relevance: This article presents guidelines for assessing the cultural dimensions of patients' understanding of COVID-19 and delivering diagnostic and treatment recommendations in ways that are culturally safe and responsive, such as: (a) suspending the clinician's own cultural biases to understand the explanatory models and cultural values of their CALD or Indigenous patients; (b) encouraging the use of interpreters or cultural brokers to ensure that that the message is delivered in a way that the patient can understand; and (c) encouraging CALD or Indigenous patient to take an active part in the solution and treatment adherence, to minimize transmission of COVID-19 in CALD and Indigenous communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number584000
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • ethnicity
  • clinical practice guideline
  • indigenous
  • health professionals
  • health communication


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