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Describe the spectrum of death and dying rituals and practices across cultures. Why are death and dying rituals so significant?
Death is natural progression of life. Each culture has differences and similarities, for example the Muslims, believe in the afterlife and that once an individual’s soul is freed from the physical body, they await a reckoning where they can account for their action in this life. Muslims aim to undertake the burial of the deceased as soon as possible and the community is encouraged to attend the funeral to offer prayers and engage in spiritual reflection (Choudry, Latif, & Warburton, 2018). In most cases, family and friends will accompany the funeral procession to the grave with condolences and assistance are done during this time. The guest will leave after greeting and speaking to the family, it’s not appropriate to give the family flowers as a gift. Showing excessive or demonstrative mourning is not allowed and is forbidden. Muslim do not believe in being cremated; they believe in being buried.
While in Judaism, the eyes are closed and covered up. The body needs to be placing towards the door and the body doesn’t move. Jewish law commands that the body is watched over and must not be left alone at any point until burial as a sign of respect (Choudry, Latif, & Warbuton, 2018). The dead is buried within 24 hours of being deceased. Exploring and supporting patients through their religious beliefs can be as important as other physical clinical interventions (Choudry, Latif, & Warbuton, 2018). It shows the patient and their family that providing quality of care goes beyond medical and physical but spiritual too.
Choudry, M., Latif, A., & Warburton, K. G. (2018). An overview of the spiritual importance of end-of-life care among the five major faiths of the United Kingdom. Clinical Medicine, 18(1), 23-31. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.18-1-23
“Most religions involve submission to a divine entity, and provide guidance on how to live purposefully, as well as rituals which comfort and influence patients and their families at the end of life” (Choudry, M., Latif, A., & Warburton, K. G., 2018). It is important for patients and their families’ religious beliefs to be honored at the end of life, because disturbing the religious or cultural rituals can cause unrest in some cultures. For example, in the Buddhist culture it is necessary not to move the body. “Once the person has died, their body should not be touched, moved, or disturbed for at least four hours. This is because Buddhists believe the soul doesn’t leave the body straight away” (funeralpartners.co.uk). In the Hispanic culture it is common to hold a vigil for a few days after the death of a loved one, so that family and friends can be together to pray and spend time together.
I’m a Christian, and my family believes in a funeral service to lay the person to rest in a coffin in the ground and to have a gathering after the funeral to be together, to pray and to remember the deceased.
Choudry, M., Latif, A., & Warburton, K. G. (2018). An overview of the spiritual importances of end-of-life care among the five major faiths of the United Kingdom. Clinical Medicine, 18(1), 23–31. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.18-1-23
Death and dying is something that is entirely the same in every culture but the way these cultures handle it and how they feel is the best way to remember their loved ones is totally different. My personal culture practices the traditional way of honoring a loved one which is by holding a funeral with a viewing and with a burial service. In Hinduism, they believe in reincarnation which is the belief of your soul passing over into someone or something else in the afterlife and you’re reincarnated. “In Hinduism, all life goes through birth, life, death, and rebirth and this is known as the cycle of samsara.” (BBC, 2021) These types of beliefs and rituals are very important in different cultures to help their people cope with loss.
BBC. (n.d.). Cycle of birth and death – the nature of human life in hinduism – GCSE religious studies revision – AQA – BBC bitesize. BBC News. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zmgny4j/revision/3
How can we incorporate these practices while caring for these patients? (ANSWER NEEDED)
select a culture other than your own and explore their death rituals. Using Ray’s Transcultural Communicative Spiritual-Ethical CARING Tool from Chapter 6 page 179, discuss how you would adapt your nursing care in this culturally dynamic situation.
In Islam traditions, a dying person, if possible, will repeat the Shahada their last words, confirming that there is no God but Allah. The body should not be cremated because they believe in a physical resurrection. (“Muslim Funeral Traditions”, 2022)
The loved one who has passed should be washed after death and wrapped in a white shroud. Burial should take place within 24 hours and be buried facing Mecca. Autopsies are seen as a desecration of the body, so if the cause of death is unknown, the family may refuse an autopsy to be performed. (“Muslim Funeral Traditions”, 2022)
When I encounter a patient who practices the Islam faith, I will use the CARING Tool (Ray, M.A., 2016) to ensure I am giving respect and compassion. I will communicate with the family to become a better advocate for them. If there are any practices I do not understand, if appropriate, I will ask to be educated on the subject so I can be a better advocate in the future.
Muslim Funeral Traditions. Everplans. (2022). Retrieved 19 May 2022, from https://www.everplans.com/articles/muslim-funeral-traditions.
Ray, M.A. (2016). Transcultural Context for Transcultural Nursing. (Ch. 6). Transcultural Caring and Dynamics in Nursing and Health Care. (2nd Ed.) F.A. Davis.
How can you familiarize yourself with other cultures?
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