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Hindu End of Life: Death, Dying, Suffering, and Karma

Thrane, Susan MSN, RN, OCN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: November-December 2010 - Volume 12 - Issue 6 - p 337-342
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0b013e3181f2ff11

Hindu suffering can be perplexing to Western thought. With almost 2.3 million Hindus of Indian origin and an additional 1 million practicing American Hindus now in the United States, healthcare practitioners need to know more about the tenets of Hinduism to provide culturally sensitive care. Family and community interconnectedness, karma, and reincarnation are major beliefs of Hinduism. Healthcare decisions may be made by the most senior family member or the eldest son. Karma is a combination of cosmic and moral cause and effect that can cross lifetimes and life lessons learned for spiritual growth. The belief in reincarnation gives great comfort to the dying and their families because they know their loved one will be reborn into a new life and that they are not gone forever. Enduring physical suffering may lead to spiritual growth and a more fortunate rebirth.

Author Affiliations: Susan Thrane, MSN, RN, OCN, is Senior Research Specialist, City of Hope, Duarte, CA.

Address correspondence to Susan Thrane, MSN, RN, OCN, City of Hope, 1500 E Duarte Rd, Duarte, CA 91010 (

The author declare no conflict of interest.

© 2010 The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association