Death is an inevitable outcome that marks the end of a life cycle in any living being, yet the subject of death is portrayed differently in various religions and cultures, leading to different traditions and attitudes associated with death. However, an observation of the existing end-of-life and palliative care services shows that a strategy based on culture and empathy is not typically seen as a critical aspect of healthcare services in the specified scenario (Pereira, Ferreira, & Martins, 2018). As a result, providing patients with an opportunity to die in a way that they will consider dignified becomes very complicated. For the existing nursing services to acknowledge patients’ dignity and agency, nurses will have to meet the standards of their culture and accept the traditions that patients see as fit to be complied with while they die. By introducing education focused on the idea of cultural sensitivity and the skill of communication as the means of eliciting information about the needs and cultural traditions of patients and their families, nurses can improve the existing standards for palliative care and end-of-life care significantly.
The introduction of spiritual support into palliative care should also be regarded as essential since it will allow patients to cope with their condition and accept their diagnosis. Specifically, they will pass the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression to reach the stage of acceptance faster (Fitchett et al., 2019). The significance of spiritual care was introduced by Madeleine Leininger, who insisted that cultural differences between a patient and a nurse should not serve as the excuse not to provide an individual with effective palliative care (McFarland & Wehbe-Alamah, 2019). Namely, the researcher explained that the inclusion of Transcultural Nursing will allow a nurse to transcend cultural boundaries and understand a patient’s spiritual needs, thus locating the resources that can provide them.
However, nurses need to distinguish between the religious and spiritual needs of their patients. Namely, Leininger explained that nurses will have to accept and support the use of religious practices in case they allow patients to feel more confident and reduce the amount of stress that they experience (McFarland & Wehbe-Alamah, 2019). However, the specified step will not satisfy patients’ spiritual needs, which may include requiring greater empathy and support from nurses, as well as the resources that will allow a patient to explore the changes in themself and their perception of self (Rocha et al., 2018). Overall, religious practices can be narrowed down to performing certain rituals with a very set and clear course of action, thus helping patients to calm down by engaging in repetitive and familiar activities.
In turn, spiritual support, which palliative and end-of-life care should also embrace, involves allowing the visits of supportive friends, especially those who share the same philosophy and religion as the patient (Schroeder & Lorenz, 2018). Moreover, a nurse should provide a patient with access to relevant resources that will allow them to meet their spiritual needs and bridge the gap between a nurse’s and a patient’s cultural and religious backgrounds (McFarland & Wehbe-Alamah, 2019). These may include print sources of information such as books and journals, as well as digital ones (Schroeder & Lorenz, 2018). As a result, the quality of the patient’s life will improve, and the patient will be able to cope with the distress experienced due to their condition more effectively.
The introduction of education opportunities for nurses so that they could treat patients’ spirituality and religious traditions with respect should be seen as the critical factor in improving end-of-life care and palliative care. Specifically, nurses will have to ensure that their actions align with the culture- and religion-specific standards of patients by the standards set by Leininger so that the latter would not become upset or feel that their dignity has been violated. Thus, the quality of patients’ lives will rise, which can be seen as the ultimate goal of palliative and end-of-life types of care.
Fitchett, G., Hoffmeyer, C., Labuschagne, D., Lee, A., Pierson, A. L. H., Pugliese, K., & Levine, S. (2019). A quantifiable spiritual assessment model in palliative care: Putting two and two together for improved spiritual care (TH320). Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 57(2), 374. Web.
McFarland, M. R., & Wehbe-Alamah, H. B. (2019). Leininger’s Theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality: An overview with a historical retrospective and a view toward the future. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 30(6), 540-557. Web.
Pereira, A., Ferreira, A., & Martins, J. (2018). Nursing theories in palliative care investigation: a review. Hospice & Palliative Medicine International Journal, 2(4), 231-234. Web.
Rocha, R. C. N. P., Pereira, E. R., Silva, R. M. C. R. A., Medeiros, A. Y. B. B. V., Refrande, S. M., & Refrande, N. A. (2018). Spiritual needs experienced by the patient’s family caregiver under oncology palliative care. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 71, 2635-2642. Web.
Schroeder, K., & Lorenz, K. (2018). Nursing and the future of palliative care. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 5(1), 4-8. Web.