UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

(Re)visioning whole-person care : an interpretation of the health care experiences of culturally diverse persons living with a life-limiting illness Bosma, Harvey R


Trends in Canadian demographics reflect a growing multicultural population with diverse perspectives on health and illness. This phenomenon brings unique challenges and opportunities to health care professionals to provide excellence in Hospice Palliative Care (HPC). Cross-cultural care can be complex and cultural differences may result in poor health outcomes for minority persons at end-of-life. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experience of health care for culturally diverse persons who had been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness. Guided by the principles of hermeneutic phenomenology, it aimed to identify what culturally diverse persons considered important to their health care and to understand how mainstream and minority cultural approaches to care were enacted in their experiences. Data were generated through in-depth interviews with ten participants with various palliative diagnoses. Data analysis included the contextual development of four paradigm cases to uncover primary themes related to the participants’ experience of health care. These cases were categorically compared and contrasted with the other cases to further develop the themes. A conceptual picture of whole-person care that included the key dimensions of holistic care, integration of multiple care knowledges, and prioritization of collaborative care emerged through this process. The findings revealed that the participants addressed gaps in whole-person care by drawing on both mainstream and minority cultural beliefs and practices to meet their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. This study points to the need for social workers and other health care professionals to re-conceptualize biomedicine as one cultural approach to health and illness alongside others of HPC and culturally diverse persons.

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