Sunday, November 22, 2015

Cultural Influences on End-Of-Life Care

"Dying is a profound and uniquely individual experience, although the need for comfort, peace, dignity, and the presence of loved ones at the end of life is universal. Still, unique aspects of culture—beliefs, mores, norms, standards, and guidelines—can play a significant role in how you handle the dying process.

The prospect of death brings up many sensations and many feelings, including fear, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, anger, guilt, a sense of helplessness, or worry—and all those feelings are normal.
Many factors influence a person’s culture and, therefore, choices about end-of-life care: worldview, ethnicity, geography, language, values, social circumstances, religion/spirituality, and gender.

For example, your culture probably influences your choices about types of support at the end of life, such as whether or not to use resuscitation measures, medications, medical interventions, or feeding tubes or whether or not to withhold nutrition and fluids.

Your culture can influence who is with you or your loved one as they are dying, and whether you or your loved one will choose to die at home, in the hospital, or in a hospice facility. Culture can also influence the foods eaten and the clothes worn during the rituals and ceremonies that accompany and come after the dying process. Some cultures treat death with the utmost reverence while others prefer to celebrate the life before it. Other cultures fear death.

Communicating your cultural beliefs will help care providers more fully support you as a whole person. Making your beliefs and values known to those who are providing your care (or your loved one’s care) helps ensure that these wishes are respected.

Since dying is a unique experience profoundly influenced by culture, you and each of your family members may cope with the dying process in a different way. Past losses, levels of education or experience, spiritual and religious beliefs, and personal philosophies may all affect feelings, reactions to, and expressions about dying. By embracing your cultural background, dying and death is more likely to be meaningful and peaceful."

Cultural Influences on End-Of-Life Care

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