Tag Archives: Experiences

ALIVE: In the face of death

Fashion photographer Rankin departs from his usual subject matter in his new project ‘ALIVE: In the face of death‘.

Highlighting taboos surrounding death and dying, Rankin is photographing people with life limiting illnesses. The portraits make his subjects uniquely visible at a time when many experience profound loss of identity.

An exhibition of the portraits can be viewed at The Walker Gallery, Liverpool.

Culture and End of Life Care: A Scoping Exercise in Seven European Countries

A recently published article from the PRISMA project provides a general overview of cultural issues in end of life care in seven European countries.

The abstract can be found below or the full article can be accessed here.


Culture is becoming increasingly important in relation to end of life (EoL) care in a context of globalization, migration and European integration. We explore and compare socio-cultural issues that shape EoL care in seven European countries and critically appraise the existing research evidence on cultural issues in EoL care generated in the different countries.


We scoped the literature for Germany, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Portugal, carrying out electronic searches in 16 international and country-specific databases and handsearches in 17 journals, bibliographies of relevant papers and webpages. We analysed the literature which was unearthed, in its entirety and by type (reviews, original studies, opinion pieces) and conducted quantitative analyses for each country and across countries. Qualitative techniques generated themes and sub-themes.


A total of 868 papers were reviewed. The following themes facilitated cross-country comparison: setting, caregivers, communication, medical EoL decisions, minority ethnic groups, and knowledge, attitudes and values of death and care. The frequencies of themes varied considerably between countries. Sub-themes reflected issues characteristic for specific countries (e.g. culture-specific disclosure in the southern European countries). The work from the seven European countries concentrates on cultural traditions and identities, and there was almost no evidence on ethnic minorities.


This scoping review is the first comparative exploration of the cultural differences in the understanding of EoL care in these countries. The diverse body of evidence that was identified on socio-cultural issues in EoL care, reflects clearly distinguishable national cultures of EoL care, with differences in meaning, priorities, and expertise in each country. The diverse ways that EoL care is understood and practised forms a necessary part of what constitutes best evidence for the improvement of EoL care in the future.

European Association of Palliative Care Blog

The EAPC has just announced the start of their new blog.

The blog’s main aim is to foster communication between its members, but it also promises to explore and share different cultures and models of care

Judging from its first posts – concerning Albanian and Armenian practitioners’ opinions of a palliative care leadership course – it could prove interesting.

Let us know what you think about the blog

Job Opportunity: Research Associate – Centre for Family Research

The following part-time post from the University of Cambridge may be of interest for an early stage researcher:

The research project, led by Dr Gail Ewing at the Centre for Family Research, concerns the communication of cancer diagnoses.

Candidates should ideally have a PhD in cancer or palliative care research and experience in qualitative and quantitative methods.

More information can be found on the following link.

Short movies promoting palliative care

We would like to bring to your attention an American project promoting palliative care. The joint venture between the Lien Foundation, IASP, Mayday Foundation, UICC and the Institute for Palliative Medicine in San Diego has released one of fifty short movies on ‘life before death’ every week since May 2011. For further information click on the link below:


We would like to hear your opinions about the movies – please leave comments below.

User Consultation: Patients and Carers

The ‘Cultural Issues in End of Life Care Team’ are interested to hear patients, carers and health care professionals’ opinions and experiences of end of life care.

In order to better focus our work, we would like people to share with us their opinions and experiences, particularly the impact of culture and cultural differences in different countries and places of care.

We would also appreciate any general comments about the blog, the work and features posted to the blog, or the focus of our work.

The research carried out by our team has identified a number of important priorities in regard to culture and end of life care. We would be particularly interested to know what patients, carers and health care professionals think about the following two issues:

1. Cultural competence and care for minority ethnic groups

Evidence of low use of end of life care services by minority ethnic groups and some dissatisfaction with care has increased the popularity of ‘cultural competency’ approaches.

‘Cultural competency’ training attempts to make health care professionals sensitive to cultural differences, provide them with knowledge about different cultural traditions and includes specific skills training in areas such as communication.1-3

There have, however, been a number of criticisms raised about such training – that a focus on information about specific cultural groups can lead to stereotyping and that such training serves to routinise the encounter between healthcare professionals and service users from different cultural backgrounds.4 5

What do you think about such training?

Do you think such training can improve the quality of care?

Do you think it will lead to people from minority ethnic groups being treated differently?

Are you a healthcare professional who has undertaken such training? Do you feel that cultural competency training improved your interactions with people from different cultural backgrounds? If not, why not?

Please share your opinions and experiences by posting a comment!

2. Diversity in changing environments

Cultural differences can be as pronounced between people from different generations as people from different cultural backgrounds. In the context of changing cultural identities how should cultural preferences be taken into account in end of life care?

Do you think that cultural competency approaches are useful or even appropriate in a changing society?

Post a comment and let us know what you think!

1. Papadopoulos I, Tilki M, Taylor G. Transcultural care: a guide for health care professionals. 1998.

2. Lister P. A Taxonomy for Developing Cultural Competence. Nurse Education Today 1999;19(4):313-18.

3. Campinha-Bacote J. The process of cultural competence in the delivery of health care services: A model of care. Journal of Transcultural Nursing 2002;13(3):181-84.

4. Gunaratnam Y. Intercultural palliative care: do we need cultural competence? International Journal of Palliative Nursing 2007;13(10):470.

5. Gunaratnam Y. From competence to vulnerability: Care, ethics, and elders from racialized minorities. Mortality 2008;13(1):24-41.