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Accommodating the Diverse Cultural Needs of Cancer Patients and Their Families in Palliative Care

Huang, Ya-Ling MN, RN; Yates, Patsy PhD, MSocSc, DipAppSci, RN; Prior, Deborah PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000343370.16894.b7
Articles

Cultural issues have become an increasingly important consideration in healthcare. Such cultural issues, however, are underresearched in Australia, especially in palliative care. This study has sought to address this gap, exploring the social construction of cultural issues in palliative care by oncology nurses. A grounded theory approach was used. Semistructured interviews with 7 Australian oncology nurses provided the data for the study. The core category emerging from the study was that of accommodating cultural needs whereby to meet patients' specific cultural requirements, nurses actively found ways to accommodate the needs of patients and their families. This process often included compromise and negotiation whereby limits were set. In addition, the use of cross-cultural communication strategies emerged from the data as an important feature of cultural care. A series of subcategories were also identified as factors that could influence the process by which nurses would accommodate cultural needs.

Cultural issues have become an increasingly important consideration in healthcare. Such cultural issues, however, are underresearched in Australia, especially in palliative care. This study has sought to address this gap, exploring the social construction of cultural issues in palliative care by oncology nurses. A grounded theory approach was used. Semistructured interviews with 7 Australian oncology nurses provided the data for the study. The core category emerging from the study was that of accommodating cultural needs whereby to meet patients' specific cultural requirements, nurses actively found ways to accommodate the needs of patients and their families. This process often included compromise and negotiation whereby limits were set. In addition, the use of cross-cultural communication strategies emerged from the data as an important feature of cultural care. A series of subcategories were also identified as factors that could influence the process by which nurses would accommodate cultural needs.

Author's Affiliations: Nursing Department, Tzu Hui Institute of Technology, Taiwan, ROC (Ms Huang); Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, and Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education, Qld Health, Brisbane, Australia (Professor Yates); and Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia (Dr Prior).

Corresponding author: Ya-Ling Huang, MN, RN, Nursing Department, Tzu Hui Institute of Technology, Nursing Department, No. 367, San Ming Rd, Nanchou Hsian, Ping Tung County, Taiwan, ROC (rebecca_yaling@yahoo.com.tw).

Accepted for publication July 13, 2008.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.