Culturally Congruent Care: Family Caregivers Experience of Indian Patients Receiving Palliative Care Services in Australia

Friday, 3 August 2012: 10:15 AM

Sujatha Shanmugasundaram, RN, RM, Bsc (Nursing), Msc (Nursing)

Learning Objective 1: sensitive to the patients' needs and deliver culturally competent care

Learning Objective 2: provide holistic care to the patients and their family members


In many western countries including Australia, providing culturally congruent care to minority groups is a great challenge in healthcare system particularly in palliative and end of life care settings. Australia is a multicultural country where people migrated from various countries such as China, Europe, United Kingdom, Russia, Middle East and India. So, Australia engulfs diverse cultural background. Healthcare system might need to be adequately prepared to deliver individual based care.


The main purpose of the study was to explore and investigate the experiences of family caregivers of Indian patients with terminal illness receiving palliative care services in Australia.


Descriptive exploratory qualitative research design was utilised for the study. One hospital based and one home based setting was selected for the study. Ethics approval sought from both the university and the study settings. Data collection was done by using semi structured interview guide. The inclusion criteria was: family caregivers of terminally ill relatives; aged above 18 years; first generation Indian migrants; who can able to speak, read and understand English; and patients who received or required palliative care services. Data was analysed by using thematic analysis technique.


There are significant research findings identified from this study. These include cultural beliefs and practices, communication and language difficulties; and health system issues.


To conclude, this study identified several cultural issues that need to be addressed. Healthcare professionals need to be adequately trained for delivering culturally congruent care in the healthcare system, particularly in palliative care and end of life care settings. Also this study recommended several strategies pertaining to service delivery, education, policy making and research to overcome these issues.