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Cultural Aspects of Death, Dying and Bereavement

Death, dying and bereavement find a way of impacting our daily living. We see images of real or fictional death when watching television or movies. Death can impact us on a personal and a cultural level. This section includes information on the cultural aspects and attitudes of death, dying and bereavement, exploring death in art, music, the media, religion/spirituality, humor and history.
Articles & Resources
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Celebrating All Saints' Day - Remembering the Dead
A look at two different holidays in November to remember the dead - All Saint's Day and Day of the Dead.
Celebration of All Soul's Day To Remember the Dead
A look at two different observances to remember the dead celebrated in the beginning of November - All Soul's Day and Day of the Dead.
Good Death
Definition of a Good Death
A Good Death is A Peaceful Death
For residents in a rural community in Ghana, the epitome of a Good Death is a peaceful one that occurs at home, surrounded by children and grandchildren. This article explores other requirements for a good, peaceful death
Twelve Principles of a Good Death
Twelve principles of a Good Death were identified in The Future of Health and Care of Older People by the Debate of the Age Health and Care Study Group. These principles of a good death are included in the article.
Pardons Granted for Shell-Shocked WWI Soldiers
Nearly 90 years after their deaths, 306 soldiers who were shot for military offences during World War I have been granted posthumous pardons from the British Ministry of Defense.
A Pioneer of Hospice: Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross
This article was written about one of the pioneers of hospice and the death with dignity movement in the United States article, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross. This article also includes a special collection of her inspiring quotes the cover many topics of death and dying.
Culture and Response to Grief and Mourning
From the National Cancer Institute's PDQ® series comes an overview online article exploring the cultural responses to grief and mourning. The article includes some questions to consider that will help show respect for a person's or family's cultural heritage in regards to death.
Cultural Responses to Grief and Mourning - Professional Version
This article is part of an extensive presentation given at an AMSA conference of medical students as part of their Interest Group on Death & Dying. The Cross-Cultural Responses to Grief and Mourning was based on the reprintable professional version of the from the National Cancer Institute's PDQ® resources.
Cultural Awareness of Sickness and Death Issues
This article is part of an extensive presentation given at an AMSA conference of medical students as part of their Interest Group on Death & Dying. A list of the eight helpful questions is provided. These questions can be asked to determine a person's "Explanatory Model" of sickness or awareness of death.
Talking About Death Across Cultures
This informative article on talking about death across cultures comes from Kokua Mau a partnership in Hawaii of over 250 individuals and organizations devoted to providing continuous care for their residents. This article looks at issues of cultural sensitivity, offers helpful tips and gives a universal protocol for care of the dying.
(PDF File) End-of-Life Care Tips for the Latino Culture
From the University of Washington Medical Center a pdf file with helpful tips on end-of-life care when dealing with people and patients from the Latino Culture. These handouts were designed to increase awareness about concepts and preferences of people from diverse cultures.
(PDF File) End-of-Life Care Tips for the Russian Culture
From the University of Washington Medical Center a pdf file with helpful tips on end-of-life care when dealing with people and patients with a Russian Background. These handouts were designed to increase awareness about concepts and preferences of people from diverse cultures.
(PDF File) End-of-Life Care Tips for the Vietnamese Culture
From the University of Washington Medical Center a pdf file with helpful tips on end-of-life care when dealing with people and patients from the Vietnamese Culture. These handouts were designed to increase awareness about concepts and preferences of people from diverse cultures.
Religion, Spirituality, and End of Life Care
One of the modules of EndLink, a Resource for End of Life Care Education developed at the Northwestern University with funding from the National Cancer Institute. Module 14 covers the topics of Religion, Spirituality, and End of Life Care.
Handbook on Cultural, Spiritual and Religious Beliefs
An online resource prepared for the South Devon Healthcare NHS Trust as a resource for their general practitioners. This resource looks at cultural, spiritual and religious beliefs for various different cultures and the major world religions. It also includes a section on Care of the Dying.
Twelve Reasons to Ask About Religious Beliefs and Practices
One of the resources in the EndLink module on Religion, Spirituality, and End of Life Care. This sections looks at reasons one should be asking about religious beliefs and practices in patients.
Readings, Prayers and Spiritual Resources
From Hospice Net a collection of readings, prayers and spiritual resources from different religious traditions for those keeping vigil and giving care. The selection reflects on God's presence in death and dying. These readings were selected to affirm the common struggle with death and a need for God's comfort and assurance.
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