Cultural Competency in Death


The family is the central caretaker of the dead throughout the world, including the US. The US is also a virtual melting pot of cultures and we must be cognizant of all the different belief systems at work. According to the text, cultural competency from the death related standpoint looks at subjective, objective and the cross-cultural encounter. The first encompasses the victim, family, cultural and social characteristics including worldview and communication. Subjective perspectives deal with self-awareness, values and beliefs. Communication is key. Death notification should never be communicated by telephone; rather empathetically face-to-face. Factors that are of upmost importance are compassion, consideration of the family’s language skills, tone of voice, nonverbal communication, privacy, personal space, eye contact, touch, time orientation, socioeconomic status, social class, sexual orientation, disability and death rituals. Support of the grieving family is a major factor in this process. References Lynch, Virginia A. and Duval, Janet Barber. (2006). Forensic Nursing. St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby

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