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Between cultures, between life and death : a qualitative study of the experiences of health care professionals providing hospice palliative care for ethno-cultural others Mio, Keishin


This thesis deals with the qualitative investigation of the experiences of Eurocanadian health care professionals who provide hospice palliative care for the patients, families, and friends from other ethno-cultural groups in the context of the multicultural city, Vancouver. The research consists of semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions with six care providers from various disciplines. The interview data are presented under the common themes: (1) the staffs perspectives on culture, (2) family issues, (3) verbal communication, and (4) communication and interaction without or beyond language. Then, the data are analyzed with the concepts of "communitas or antistructure", "I and Thou", "individual" and "inner healer" in relation to "structure", "I and It", "person" and "work persona". The analysis suggests that "communitas or antistructure", "I and Thou", "individual" and "inner healer" "inner healer" are the dominant themes in this analysis of hospice palliative care. Here, the non-verbal communication and interaction often force the health care professionals to experience a raw and profound connection with the patients, far exceeding the verbal. In addition, the basics, norms and common sense of Western health care are frequently reconsidered, reexamined, and questioned. In particular, this tendency is more evident in providing care for the patients from other ethno-cultural backgrounds. Yet, the appropriate balance between antistructure and structure, "I and Thou" and "I and It", and "inner healer" and "work persona" needs to be established according to each individual situation. In the conclusion, the paper suggests that the core and essence of hospice palliative care originates from the communitas or antistructural experience in cross-cultural encounter in the death and dying context, against the common belief that its origin is the Christian context.

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