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Palliative Care for Aboriginal People - Essay Example

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Palliative Care for Aboriginal People

The core purpose of palliative care is to alleviate physical, psychological and social distress so that improves the quality of life of individuals and their families facing the problems associated with life-limiting illness. In addition, it involves the family and in most cases extends to the involvement of the community. This aspect of palliative care raises the question of cultural influences to the effectiveness or defectiveness of the whole process in this multicultural country(Elliott, Aitken & Chaboyer, 2011). It is, therefore, imperative that nurses provide spiritual and cultural care for individuals and their family receiving palliative care through the application of spiritual and cultural competent nursing care principles (Elliott, Aitken & Chaboyer, 2011). The discussion will focus on Aboriginal and Torres Islander people spiritual and cultural care in relation to palliation. To grasp the sensitivity of palliative care to the Aboriginal people, one has to understand the underlying factors that precipitated their alienation from the rest of the Australian populations. Over 20% of the Aboriginal population lives in very remote areas (100 kilometres from a health centre). This Aboriginal population has the highest death rate in Australia especially for people between the ages of 25-45. What is worse if the fact that the current health system does not recognize most of the ailments this population faces as fatal. With the arrival of the Europeans came the arrival of chronic illnesses such as Hypertension, diabetes, stroke and a myriad of heart diseases (Austin Health, 2006). In addition, the past experience of Aboriginal people, especially the experience of the Stolen Generations result in the fact that most Aboriginal people do not trust government institutions and this creates a barrier between them and healthcare givers (Austin Health, 2006). The vulnerability of these populations makes it very imperative that they receive spiritually and culturally appropriate care. Cultural beliefs and traditions relating to death and dying in Aboriginal Communities: The Dreamtime is the ultimate spiritual and cultural guide to these people. It influences social systems, myths, punishment and reward, life, death and health. Specific to palliative care, Dreamtime makes the people view death as an ominous mythical secret. Furthermore, Dreamtime influences communication style, decision making and consenting, gender and kinship relations and role of elders in the community that are very crucial factors in palliative care for the Indigenous people. The Indigenous population favours a “homely demise” this is to say that they prefer to die in the confines of their community. Aside from the fact that the Indigenous population favours a “homely demise”, there is the issue of ceremonies that are very important to them, even those who predominantly practice Christianity. According to a study done by McGrath and Phillips (2008) the most popular and dominantly held practices include: The smoking ceremony; an elder smokes the house, room or car where the individual frequented to helps the spirit of the dead person pass on to the other side. The second one is marking the house of the deceased with red ochre that also releases the spirit of the dead person and releases it into the other world (spirit world). There is also dancing, singing and decorating of the house using flowers to ensure that the spirit of dead person gets a heartfelt send ...Show more

Summary

Palliative care involves providing medical care to patients in a bid to alleviate their pain and suffering and not so much to heal as is with medical treatment. In a standard setting, palliative care commences as soon as a condition is diagnosed…
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Palliative Care for Aboriginal People essay example
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