Palliative Care Essay

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In a multicultural society such as Australia, nurses need to gain an understanding of cultural aspects surrounding palliative care, so that the most culturally appropriate behaviour can be applied. This essay will discuss the beliefs of two communities in Australia, the Indigenous and Muslim community who reside within the Greater Western Sydney regarding death and dying and will discuss how a nurse tendering to individuals from these communities can help.An example of previous experience will also be mentioned, as well as secondary resources.

Culture encompass of a variation of systems, worldviews and beliefs that create symbols relating to humanity, spirituality and moral values(Galfin, Watkings & Harlow,2012). This forms a unique cultural, spiritual belief and tradition which varies among nationalities(To & Boughey, 2010).Across most cultures, birth, marriage and death are given the maximum importance as these are some of the major milestones of continuity of life (Higginson & Booth, 2011).However, a nurse must be aware that there are certain subtle differences in the way in which the last days of individuals are managed across the cultures in order to provide optimum palliative care needs (Saxena & Mulhern, 2010).

The following previous clinical experience will assist to communicate the main key concepts of culturally competent and how it replicates the best practice by nurses surrounding palliative care. A woman, seventy years of age from an Indigenous background was admitted to intensive care unit ward during clinical for palliative care, diagnosed with low level of consciousness and shortness of breath. She had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type two diabetes mellitus, and the nurse looking after this patient called the medical emergency team (MET). Patients like this women have a health progressively deteriorating, require palliation to be culturally competent as this enable nurses to be aware of her health and the cultural influence regarding the respect and understanding of this patient’s point of view (To & Boughey, 2010). The following evening the patient’s breathing worsened where she became unconscious and her blood pressure significantly dropped. The medical emergency team was notified and immediately came to review patient, and provided her with oxygen through non-rebreather mask, whilst the patient’s husband stood next to her bedside. Nurses who are culturally aware will have an increase in a holistic approach to the delivery of healthcare (Saxena&Mulhern, 2010).For example, according to To & Boughey (2010) the Australian Indigenous community is completely averse to the idea of palliative care, especially for an individual who is going to die due to natural age or because of some incurable disease. It is not considered appropriate to interfere in the process of death (To & Boughey, 2010). In addition, it is believed that providing pain killers as stated by Saxena & Mulhern (2010) orally or through IV route can be seen as inappropriate and thus would not be allowed. At the same time, Indigenous people prefer that a person who is about to die should not be disturbed, as they consider it again to be an unnecessary and culturally in appropriate act (Saxena & Mulhern, 2010).

In addition Kenny, Hall, Zapart & Davis (2010) explain that a nurse who is taking care of an Indigenous person in either a hospital or home, should be very careful, as injections and palliative medicine can be misinterpreted as poison and the nurse can be held guilty of death, which warrants punishment. Moreover, after death, smoking of the room is done to purify it; the nurse has to be aware of this part and also that all the body parts, even hair and nails are to be returned for last rites (Kenny, Hall, Zapart & Davis 2010). Indigenous people use the term ‘bringing them home’, which generally means, bringing everything that constituted the person back home,...
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