Culturally Sensitive Care at End-of-Life


The Guideline for Culturally Sensitive Care at End-of-Life is a contribution made by many at MJHS who reviewed literature and ran focus groups with experts to validate its content.  We address six cultural groups which are most prevalent in our service areas. The guideline is meant to raise the standard of end-of-life care at MJHS by raising awareness and preparing clinicians for patient/family encounters from different cultures.  Being informed helps prevent generalizing and stereotyping.  Use the guide as a general practice — it is not a deep dive into any one culture and by definition following a guideline is not mandatory.  As most clinicians know, the key to giving culturally sensitive care is being sensitive and flexible to the cues and guidance offered by patients and families themselves.

References for the MJHS Guideline for Culturally Sensitive Care at End-of-Life

  1. American Geriatrics Society. (2009). Doorway Thoughts: Cross Cultural Health Care for Older Adults. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
  1. Bullock, K. (2011). The influence of culture on end-of-life decision-making. The Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative care, 7, 783-798.
  1. Caring Across Cultures and Belief Systems. (Roswell Park Cancer Institute Pastoral Care Department collaboration with the Department of Diversity, 2009). Retrieved from
  1. Colin, J I. & Hastings, B.  Cultural and Clinical Care for Haitians. (US Public Health Service Indian Health Services, 2006)  Retrieved from
  1. Crawley, L.M., Marshall, P.A., Lo, B., & Koenig, B. (2002). Strategies for culturally effective end-of-life care. Annals of Internal Medicine, 136, 673-679.
  1. D’Avanzo, (2007). C  Mosby’s Pocket Guide to Cultural Health Assessment. 4th Ed.
  1. Hosparus Inc., The Community of Hospices of Louisville. (2009). Cultural Diversity in America: How different cultures approach end-of-life issues. Louisville, Kentucky: Hosparus, Inc., The Community of Hospices of Louisville.
  1. Healthcare Chaplaincy Handbook of Patients’ Spiritual Cultural Values for health Care Professionals. (HealthCare Chaplaincy, 2013). Retrieved from
  1. Lee, H.Y. Cultural Considerations in End-of-Life Care. (2010).  University of Minnesota.Retrieved from
  1. Mara, S.K. & Zborovskaya, Y. (2016). End-of-life care in the Hispanic community.  Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing, 18(1), 53-59.   
  1. Nicholas, G., DeSilva, A., Grey, K., & Gonzalez-Eastep, D.  (2006. Using a multi-cultural lens to understand illnesses among Haitians living in America.  Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 37(6), 702-707.
  1. Sherman, DW. (2010). Culture and spirituality as domains of quality palliative care. In M Matzo and DW Sherman Eds), Palliative Care Nursing Quality Care to the End of Life  (pp. 3-38). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
  1. Srivastava, R. (2007). The Healthcare Professional’s Guide to Clinical Cultural Competence.    Ontario, Canada: Elsevier Canada.
  1. Staff Development Workgroup, Patient and Family Education Series. (2007).  Culture Clues™   University of Washington Medical Center.  Retrieved from
  1. Weiss, T.  (July-Aug, 2015). Focus groups to validate “guidelines for culturally sensitive care at end-of-life.”