Intended for healthcare professionals


Palliative care needs of minorities

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 24 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:176
  1. A Rashid Gatrad (, consultant paediatrician,
  2. Erica Brown, head of research and development,
  3. Hardev Notta, Asian liaison officer,
  4. Aziz Sheikh, NHS/PPP national primary care post doctoral fellow
  1. Manor Hospital, Walsall WS2 9PS
  2. Acorns Children Hospice Trust, Birmingham B13 9EZ
  3. St George's Hospital Medical School, London SW17 0RE

    Understanding their needs is the key

    The opportunity to die with dignity is recognised by health professionals the world over as one of the most fundamental of all human rights. What is often forgotten is that notions of a good death vary considerably between cultures (and individuals within a culture), raising the risk of misunderstanding and cultural insensitivity.1 This need not be the case, as our experiences show. Even in ethnically and religiously diverse modern Britain, receiving high quality care at the end of life is possible and may, we hope, soon be probable for all.2 3 Realising this aspiration will need fundamental changes on at least three fronts: tackling institutional discrimination in the provision of palliative care, progress in incorporating transcultural medicine into medical and nursing curriculums, and a greater willingness on the part of healthcare providers to embrace complexity and …

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