Chapter 2: Respecting and responding to cultural practice and traditions

Examples of cultural, religious and spiritual needs

My culture says
Pastor Efrem explains some Ethiopians' loud expressions of grief. (3:22)Video transcript
Dr. Carrie Bourassa explains the role of Elders at end of life. (3:22)Video transcript
Dr. Carrie Bourassa outlines common questions health care providers have about Indigenous cultural practices at end of life. (3:22)Video transcript
Louis explains that traditional Chinese culture believes that talking about death makes it come faster. (3:22)Video transcript
Lawrence Chung explains why many Chinese do not want to die at home. (3:22)Video transcript

These are some examples of the diversity of expression you may observe:

  • Presence of extended family and friends.
  • Visit by spiritual or religious leader for prayers or other rituals.

  • Chanting

  • Positioning of patient.

  • Washing, dressing and shrouding of body by members of the cultural or religious group.

  • Arrangements for burial within a short time frame.

  • Reluctance or refusal to move body on a designated holy day or for a prescribed period time.

  • Use of traditional medicines or visits from traditional healers.    

  • No crying over or touching the body for fear of holding the person back.

  • Loud wailing.

  • Presence of family with the body until it’s moved by the funeral director.
  • Reciting of creeds or reading of sacred texts.