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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 59--64

End-of-life care in the Indian context: The need for cultural sensitivity


Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
R Shubha
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Powai, Mumbai - 400 076, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.38901

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End-of-life care requires dealing with challenging issues along various dimensions - physical, psychological, social and cultural. In addition to physical care, the importance of mental healthcare for patients at the end of life is now clearly recognised. However, there is much less awareness about the cultural factors that are involved in end-of-life care. Sensitivity to these factors is essential to providing high quality care and satisfaction to patients. In India, patients come from varied backgrounds. Their end-of-life needs differ according to their belief systems and values relating to life and death in general. In turn, these are influenced by the position they occupy along various dimensions, such as class, religion, caste, community, language, gender, to name a few. Moreover, cultural variations in attitudes and values have important practical implications for individuals making crucial medical decisions. It is therefore important for medical, paramedical and mental health professionals to be cognizant of these factors so as to provide effective and satisfying end-of-life care to patients. This paper discusses some of the issues in providing culture-sensitive care, using examples from the Indian context.






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