End of life care in a multicultural framework: to treat or not to treat

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Mana Modares
Andreea Cristina Matei

Keywords

immigrant, culture, palliative, end-of-life care, intensive care unit

Abstract

Canadas growing immigrant population is increasing demands for a culturally sensitive healthcare system. There are visible disparities in end-of-life care treatment when Canadian residents are compared to immigrants. This may be due to differences in patient preferences, influenced by culture, however is more likely associated to the physicians approach surrounding conversations about end-of-life care. Physicians may be clouded by preconceived notions of what patients may want based on their cultural heritage. It is essential for physicians to be inclusive and accepting of patient preferences and to address issues, such as familial involvement and non-disclosure of diagnoses. Ultimately, integration of clinical tools that will build rapport and allow open dialogue between physicians and patients is the first step towards treatment plans that provide benefits and less harm to their recipients.