Australia is a culturally and ethnically diverse country.
Within such diversity there will be differing beliefs
systems about death and dying. This may be a challenging
prospect for health professionals.
This article discusses how cultural diversity may impact
care and provides some strategies for the general
practitioner when considering the provision of end of life
This article does not attempt to provide GPs with a
prescriptive approach to multicultural care, as this would
run the risk of stereotyping individuals. Rather, it discusses
the barriers to end of life care among different cultural and
ethnic groups, and suggests ways in which to improve
understanding of different cultural needs in end of life care.
Australian society is culturally diverse. The 2006 National Census revealed that only 46% of migrants since 1945 are of Anglo-Celtic origin. Currently, there are almost 400 different languages spoken in Australia, with 79% of the population speaking only English at home.1 After English, the most commonly spoken languages include Greek, Italian, Cantonese, Arabic, Mandarin and Vietnamese (Table 1).
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