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Culturally competent care at the end of life: a Hindu perspective
  1. Sujatha Shanmugasundaram, PhD student,
  2. Professor Margaret O’Connor, Vivian Bullwinkel Chair in Palliative Care, Nursing and
  3. Ken Sellick, Senior Research Fellow
  1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Australia. Email: sujatha.shanmugasundaram{at}


Knowledge of particular cultural requirements is especially important in times of transition such as at the end of life, where issues of death and dying require great sensitivity to cultural and religious differences. Healthcare professionals need to understand different cultures and deliver care accordingly. This article explores the cultural aspects of end-of-life care among Hindus who live in places other than India and is based on a study of Hindus in Australia. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experience of families of terminally ill Indian patients. This article will explore aspects of the Hindu faith and their implications for nurses, specifically in the context of end-of-life care. It will outline the rituals and ceremonies that help a Hindu have a good death and which have meaning for families and friends. It is acknowledged that care settings may not be able to cater for all the practices discussed. However, it is hoped that greater understanding of the Hindu philosophy will encourage nurses to facilitate a more sympathetic environment for a dying person and their family at the end of life. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Culture
  • Death and dying
  • End-of-life care
  • Hindus
  • Palliative care nursing

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