Understanding and improving communication and decision-making in palliative care for Turkish and Moroccan immigrants: a multiperspective study

F.M. de Graaff, A.L. Francke, M.E.T.C. van den Muijsenbergh, S. van der Geest

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Objective. The aim of this study is to explore how communication and decision-making in palliative care among Turkish and Moroccan patients is influenced by different styles of care management between Turkish and Moroccan families and Dutch professional care providers. Problems as well as solutions for these problems are highlighted.

Design. A qualitative design was used, totally interviewing 83 people (6 patients, 30 relatives and 47 care providers) covering 33 cases of incurable cancer patients receiving palliative care. Data were analysed thematically and contextually.

Results. The analysis reveals that problems in decision-making are partly related to differences in ethnic-cultural views on ‘good care’ at the end of life: Dutch palliative care providers prefer to focus on quality of life rather than on prolonging life, while Turkish and Moroccan families tend to insist on cure. Another barrier is caused by conflicting views on the role of the ‘care management group’: Dutch care providers see the patient as their primary discussion partner, while in Turkish and Moroccan families, relatives play a major part in the communication and decision-making. Moreover, the family's insistence on cure often leads to the inclusion of additional care providers in communication, thus complicating joint decision-making.

Conclusion. Care providers need to understand that for Turkish and Moroccan patients, decision-making is seldom a matter of one-to-one communication. Next to acknowledging these patients' different cultural backgrounds, they must also recognise that the families of these patients often function as care management groups, with an ‘equal’ say in communication and decision-making. In addition, professionals should optimise communication within their own professional care management group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-384
JournalEthnicity & health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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