Cultural Issues in End-of-Life Care: Unmet Needs of Indians in Australia

Tuesday, 10 November 2015: 8:30 AM

Sujatha Shanmugasundaram, PhD, RN, MACN
College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University, St albans campus, Australia


Background: Globally, people with terminal illness facing many challenges including cultural issues at the end of life. In recent years, increasing in ageing population and diverse population in Australia puts lot of pressure on the health care system in providing culturally sensitive care. Cultural factors may influence the patient’s reaction to illness and decisions about end of life care. It is estimated that the Indians sharing the second largest migrant group after United Kingdom.

Aim: The main aim of the study is to explore the cultural needs of the Indian patients receiving end of life care services in Australia.

Methods: The Constructivist grounded theory research approach was utilised for the study. Snow ball sampling technique was used to recruit the participants. Both hospital and home based patients interviewed by using semi-structured interview guide. Data collection was done over a period of one year after obtaining ethics approval. Data was analysed and themes were developed using Boyatzis thematic analytic technique.

Results: After analysing the data three major themes were emerged: Health system issues; cultural issues; and caring experiences. Under each themes there were sub-themes developed.

Conclusion: There is still a long way to go in meeting the cultural needs of the patients in end of life care settings. Healthcare professionals need to be provided with adequate education and training on how to provide culturally sensitive care to the minority patients.