Cultural Responses to Death
Nurses come in contact with many different types of people of various cultures and beliefs. One important factor of being an effective nurse is to be aware and considerate of the cultures of others when dealing with patients and their families when providing nursing care and especially when the death of a patient occurs. Depending on the culture or ethnic background of the patient and their family, reactions to death and actions taken after the fact can vary greatly. A good nurse respects cultural differences while providing good nursing care.
The Muslim culture views death as the beginning of eternal life that will be rich in rewards depending on how the person acted while in the physical world. When it is known that a Muslim is close to death, it is tradition for those close to them to provide comfort and strength. This is done by keeping the focus not on the one who is dying but on the Islamic faith through prayers and reading from the Qur’an.
When death has occurred, family members and close friends are forbidden to scream, moan, and show excessive emotions although quiet crying and prayer is accepted. Care of the deceased body is done by family and members of the community who wash the body and cover it with white cloth called kafan. Muslims believe in burying the body as soon as possible after death therefore embalming of the body is usually avoided.
The funeral is normally held outdoors but only men are allowed to follow the body the cemetery. The deceased is placed in the grave on their right side, facing mecca and without a coffin if permitted by law. Tombstones, flowers, or other grave markers are discouraged because one must remain humble even in death. There is a three day mourning period for family and loved ones however a widowed woman is allowed and expected to mourn for four months and ten days as stated in the Qur’an.
In the Jewish faith life is valued above all else and nothing must be done to hasten...
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