Sociologiska institutionen

Caring for dying patients with immigrant backgrounds and their families: do understandings of cross-cultural interaction and ethnic ‘Otherness’ play a role?

 Primary investigators: Prof. Sandra Torres (Uppsala University) & Dr. Anna Milberg (Linköping University)

Collaborators: Ph. D. Candidate Pernilla Ågård (Uppsala University)

The way in which health care workers and patients with different ethnic, cultural, language and religious backgrounds regard one another is assumed to play a role for the way in which high-quality and user-friendly care is delivered in multicultural societies. Cross-cultural interaction in clinical settings is therefore an important angle of study for studies of health care provision. Research in this area is, however, relatively scarce in some areas of health care; palliative care being one of them. There is namely very little research that addresses if and how understandings of cross-cultural interaction and ethnic ‘Otherness’ affect the care that is provided in palliative care settings. This project aims to address this research gap by shedding light into the way in which palliative care workers regard cross-cultural interaction in this setting and the way in which they think about caring for dying patients with immigrant backgrounds and their families. The project departs from focus group interviews with 50 palliative care workers in Sweden who have been asked to discuss cross-cultural interaction in palliative care settings as well as their experiences of caring for dying patients with immigrant backgrounds and their families. The project aims to contribute to the debate on cross-cultural interaction in health care settings in general, to the debate on diversity’s implications for palliative care in particular as well as to the debate on culture-appropriate care since it is this particular debate that seems to lurk in the background of care workers who provide care across ethnic, cultural, language and religious boundaries.