Undocumented immigrants who become ill with a life-limiting illness are often faced with difficult choices and decisions to make. One decision with important advocacy implications for the palliative care nurse is whether the individual wants to spend the last few weeks and days of life in this country or his/her country of origin. Through a case study, some of the unique barriers undocumented immigrants face when they receive a diagnosis of a terminal illness and want to return home will be reviewed. Critical components of the nurses’ role in guiding the patient and family through an anticipated process of benefits and burdens as they contemplate returning to their country of birth will be described.
Robert Smeltz, MA, RN, NP, ACHPN, is clinical coordinator, Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care Program, Bellevue Hospital Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York.
Address correspondence to Robert Smeltz, MA, RN, NP, ACHPN, Nurse Practitioner Palliative Care Program, Bellevue Hospital Center, NYU School of Medicine, 460 First Ave, Room 17S19, New York, NY 10016 (email@example.com).
The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.