The purpose of this paper is to describe the influence of culture and religion on end-of-life decision making and advance care planning. Over the last few decades there has been increasing amounts of attention and controversy on end-of-life planning. Recently there has been a growing interest in cultural and religious influences on end-of-life planning. Members of the multidisciplinary team need to be aware of the practices in different religions and cultures regarding end-of-life care. In the United States, patient autonomy is the primary focus of ethical decision making in health care regarding end-of-life planning (Johnstone, & Kanitsaki, 2009). In some cultures patient autonomy may not be a valued ethical element in end-of-life planning but seen primarily as a duty of the family. Nurses along with other health care professionals have a fundamental responsibility to assist patients and family with the end-of-life decision making process. Being culturally competent is more than having a basic understanding of different cultural norms.
Linus Silvey is from Overland Park, Kansas. While at the KU School of Nursing he received a KU Endowment scholarship for the 2009-2010 and the 2010-2011 academic year. He also received the prestigious Clinical Excellence Level III Award for his outstanding performance in the critical care clinical area.
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