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What Chinese-Canadians perceive as appropriate care for their dying family members : a phenomenological study Tang, Sannie Y.S.


This phenomenological study describes what Chinese-Canadians perceived as appropriate care for their dying family members. The unstructured interview was the method for data collection. Nine Chinese-Canadians who had a dying family member were interviewed. Data were analyzed using procedures adopted from Colaizzi's (1978) method. Three themes were conceptualized from what Chinese-Canadians perceived as appropriate terminal care: attentiveness, responsiveness, protectiveness. Attentiveness was the description of Chinese families' perception that their dying family members required 24-hour attention and care for the satisfaction of their needs and for their comfort. In order to make the patient feel cared for, however, attentive care had to be delivered in a way that indicated caring to the patient. Responsiveness was the description of Chinese families' expectation for prompt and knowledge-based responses to the patient's physical problems. The Chinese families perceived that responsive care from health professionals could relieve the patient's suffering and maintain physical comfort in the patient. Protectiveness was the description of Chinese families' desire to protect the patient from emotional pain and/or from physical deterioration by maintaining silence around the issue of death, and/or by maintaining hope in the patient. Attentiveness, responsiveness, and protectiveness were culturally constructed themes of appropriate terminal care, and their meanings had to be understood within the cultural context. Cultural meanings had significant influence on the way families reacted to and managed terminal illness. Moreover, the families' experiences of providing terminal care, and the health care decisions that they made for the patient were shaped by complex social, political and economic factors. The illness experiences of terminally ill Chinese patients were embedded inextricably within a complex familial, social and cultural nexus.

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