James Leung
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James Leung
November 21, 1997
A cross-cultural study on the spiritual and cultural concerns of terminally ill Chinese seniors and the ministerial implications to the patients’ home caregivers in the context of the mainstream medical care system

Although the Chinese population represents the third largest ethnic group in Canada, there is a lack of hospice program that is culturally sensitive to the terminally ill Chinese. This thesis will explore the cultural differences and suggest cultural equivalencies among (i) the Chinese and the non-Chinese health care workers and (ii) the health care workers and the family member primary caregivers.

Six focus groups that represent Chinese and non-Chinese cultural background physicians, home support health care workers, and family member caregivers, are set up to explore palliative or hospice issues. The physician groups include non-Chinese, Chinese Canadian and Mainland Chinese medical doctors. The home support health care workers include the non-Chinese and Chinese Canadian nurses and home care coordinators. The last group of participants are the family member primary caregivers. In this thesis all the family member primary caregivers are representing the terminally ill Chinese semors. Information and data are summarized and presented in the following categories:

(1) the breaking or talking about the diagnosis of the terminal cancer; (2) the coping with pain; and (3) the handling of spiritual aspects in the fear of death and reconciliation process.

The final outcome of the thesis is to produce suggestions for culturally sensitive palliative or hospice care. This thesis also suggests that the Chinese Christian community can serve as a community caring resource that may improve the cultural sensitivity of the existing palliative or hospice care system.