Edited By Jon F. Nussbaum, Howard Giles and Amber Worthington
Chapter Six: End-of-Life Communication in Cross-Cultural Patient Care
End-OF-Life Communication IN Cross-Cultural Patient Care
MARCIA K. CARTERET
While the end-of-life experience is universal, the way human beings negotiate meaning about the experience of dying is not. The thoughts, emotions, and interpersonal interactions at the end of life are very much influenced by culture. In any given set of circumstances in which people come from different cultural backgrounds, false assumptions based on one set of values will quickly lead to failed communication. This is especially true of communication at the end of life because we cannot assume shared meaning about anything as uncertain as the experience of death. When crossing cultural boundaries especially, communication is only effective when it is highly intentional (Bennett, 2013). With close attention and earnest intention, communication becomes the very thing that can bring people through a time of great uncertainty.
COMMUNICATION BETWEEN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS, PATIENTS, AND FAMILIES
Coming to terms with death is a lifelong process for most human beings. Even though health care professionals deal with the uncertainty of death and dying as part of their work—sometimes daily—as human beings, they have their own unresolved fears and questions about death, and in any case, it never becomes ← 91 | 92 → easy to talk about death with their patients. It is never comfortable to give bad news, to shock and devastate with a telling of a terminal diagnosis or a death by trauma. The challenge of talking about the end...
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