Cultural Diversity in Palliative Care

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Cultural diversity in the medical field in regards to palliative care is, at times, greatly hindered because of religious beliefs, language barriers, and the hierarchies of diverse cultures, and these have the propensity to affect the continuity of care for the patients. People from different cultures have their own perspectives on health and disease. Some cultures believe in using traditional medicine, and some believe in the healing power of praying and herbal healing. People are often affected by their own cultural beliefs when it comes to diseases, and how they can find the right cure or die with the dignity they have through the dictation of their culture. Sometimes, religion and cultural beliefs get in the way of receiving the medical help they need.

Every person has different aspects that constitute their identities, according to how they see themselves. Religious beliefs for example can hinder the nursing care of patients. There are many different religious beliefs in as many different religions. The religious belief most common in the United States, of course, is the Jehovah Witness who refuses transfusions. This religion has a strong belief in preserving the soul before the body. In recent years, the notion of cultural competence has come to encompass both interpersonal and organizational interventions and strategies that seek to facilitate achievement of clinical and public health goals when those differences come into play.

“In 1991, the United States legislature implemented the Patient Self-Determination Act otherwise known by the acronym PSDA, to serve as a manner in which end-of-life care and considerations were made. It incorporates not only the Advanced Directive of life-sustaining technology, but also shifts the clarification and protection of an individual’s health care decisions to the patient rather than from the doctor” (Giger, Davidhizar, Fordham pg 32 2006). The assessment factors that are added to the PSDA include communication,...
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