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  • Introduction
  • 1. Advance Care Planning
  • 2. Communicating Bad News
  • 3. Whole Patient Assessment
  • 4. Pain Management
  • 5. Assisted Suicide Debate
  • 6. Anxiety, Delirium
  • 7. Goals of Care
  • 8. Sudden Illness
  • 9. Medical Futility
  • 10. Common Symptoms
  • 11. Withholding Treatment
  • 12. Last Hours of Living
  • 13. Cultural Issues
  • 14. Religion, Spirituality
  • 15. Legal Issues
  • 16. Social and Psychological
  • More About:

  • Hospice Care
  • Clergy and Faith Communities
  • Additional Links
    Site Index
    Back to Module 8: Sudden Illness
    Seven Guiding Principles

    Principle 5. Take Sociocultural Differences Into Account Principle 6. Manage Symptoms Effectively

    Principle 5. Take Sociocultural Differences Into Account

    Sociocultural Perspectives: Patients, Families, and Providers

    • Identify, acknowledge, and address differences in values and beliefs with care and sensitivity
    • Each patient, family member, and member of the health care team will:
      • Hold a unique set of values, beliefs, and experiences related to the health care system

      • Make unique choices about the type of health care that is appropriate for him or her

      • Experience a given situation from his or her social, cultural, and spiritual perspective
    • When discussing important medical decisions with patients and/or families, it is important for everyone to
      • Be sensitive to these differences

      • Acknowledge and address them openly
    • In the end, the final decision about treatment remains with the patient and family


    Values and Beliefs that May Impact Reactions to Sudden Illness

    Examples of values and beliefs that could potentially impact discussions about prognostic uncertainty and life-threatening illness include:

    • Distrust of the medical system or physicians
    • Unrealistic expectations of the medical system or physicians
    • Any life, no matter how compromised, is worth living
    • Belief in miracles
    • Death is "the enemy"
    • Death should not be discussed openly


    When Language is an Issue

    • When language is an issue, ensure that information is communicated through a medically trained translator or an interpreter who is sensitive to the cultural nuances of the patient and family members. For additional information on using medical translators and interpreters, see Module 13: Cultural Issues
    • Subtleties in language can lead to significant differences in understanding
    • Try to avoid using a family member to translate, as family members may be:
      • Wrapped up in the drama of the situation

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