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Cultural Considerations at the End of Life

1.0 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to provide an overview of specific cultural influences at the end of life for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and Muslim Americans, including the impact of religion and spirituality on funeral and burial practices and the challenges for health-care professionals to become culturally competent with end-of-life care.
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At the end of life, attitudes about the loss of a loved one profoundly affect how both a dying person and his or her family and friends address the dying and the grieving processes. Diverse populations in the United States provide health-care professionals with tremendous opportunities to bridge cultural gaps and learn about different values and religious and spiritual belief systems.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify cultural competence challenges at end of life.
  • Discuss cultural differences in response to death and dying.
  • Describe specific cultural considerations at the end of life for African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and Muslim Americans.
  • Differentiate between specific cultural issues for each cultural group.
  • Describe the influence of culture on funeral and burial practices.
  • Describe the influence of religion and spirituality on funeral and burial practices.

Cultural competency is a vital part of individualized patient care. End-of-life views and practices are strongly influenced by cultural beliefs and values. Knowledge of the influence of culture and beliefs on specific end-of-life rituals, such as funeral and burial practices, is essential. It helps assure that care is compassionate, respectful, and culturally competent, and it provides the dying person and his or her family with dignity and understanding during a very difficult time. As the patient receives care, health care providers should also examine their own cultural values and beliefs to ensure they do not interfere with a patient’s care. Part of cultural competency is acknowledging one’s own biases before providing care (Saccomano & Abbatiello, 2014).

Cultural diversity in patient care involves the acceptance of individual characteristics, such as skin color, religion, gender, income, and geographic location. Providing culturally competent care means that providers help facilitate equal access to culturally competent care, refer patients to culturally appropriate resources (such as qualified medical interpreters, appropriate religious and spiritual support, etc.) and obtain appropriate training in evidence-based, cross-cultural practices (Saccomano & Abbatiello, 2014).

The discussions that physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, and other health-care providers have with a client about end-of-life care be a challenge and can be influenced (positively or negatively) by the provider’s training and experience in endof-life care, the provider’s comfort level in discussing these sensitive issues, the patient’s diagnosis and prognosis, the level of family support, the availability of adequate time to discuss the issues surrounding end-of-life care, and the quality of the rapport between the patient, family, and care providers. A lack of understanding and sensitivity may lead to poor communication, misinterpretation of symptoms, misdiagnoses, and failed interventions (Meiner, 2010; Munoz & Luckmann, 2005).

Honoring the belief systems of the individual and the family is paramount, particularly during and after the death of the loved one. Understanding cultural influences by asking the patient and the family about their preferences surrounding the end-of-life process helps ensure a compassionate and respectful response to their requests, and it minimizes the chances of offending them. In the United States, there are many different cultural groups, and within each group there is much diversity. This makes it difficult for health-care providers to be experts on end-of-life care for any one cultural group. One of the most effective methods for supporting patients and their families is through effective communication based on compassion and humility, and the establishment of a rapport based on empathy, trust, respect, and clinical competence (Corr & Corr, 2012; Meiner, 2010; Munoz & Luckmann, 2005).

Effective transcultural communication helps facilitate planning and intervention strategies that can be used to support grieving families. Health-care professionals can help grieving families by encouraging them to discuss their loss; encouraging them to express feelings such as anger, anxiety, guilt, and helplessness; providing them adequate time to grieve; allowing for cultural differences; and providing continuing support as necessary (Meiner, 2010; Munoz & Luckmann, 2005).

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists
AOTA CEUs:

0.1

Practice Level:

Beginner/Introductory

Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

May 30, 2019

Instructor(s):
  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.

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