Indigenous Nursing Practices

1531 Words 7 Pages
Death and dying is different for every person experiencing the loss and is influenced by a person’s culture, lived experiences, environmental factors, and the person themselves. Indigenous Australians practices regarding death and dying are not dissimilar to Western but have unique aspects and it is important that nursing professionals are aware of and understand the process and cultural aspects of death in Aboriginal culture in order to provide culturally sensitive care to the patient as well as their family and community. The purpose of this essay is to explore some of the practices involved in Indigenous Australian death and dying in order to encourage awareness and understanding. It will discuss the decision making process, the concept …show more content…
Families (or communities) stay in these camps until the period of mourning and associated rituals have been completed which could last for weeks or months depending on the cultural group (Taylor & Guerin, 2010). Taylor and Guerin (2010) further explain that the bereavement practices in “sorry camps” are often referred to as “sorry business”. These practices include wailing from women and cutting their hair to demonstrate their grief while men give themselves cuts, named “sorry cuts” either to their arms or legs with the drawing of blood from the cut demonstrating the depth of grief (Taylor & Guerin, 2010). There are usually strict language rules in these camps with the name of the deceased forbidden from being spoken and close family members not allowed to speak at all for the whole period of mourning (Taylor & Guerin, 2010). Food is brought to the camps by other members of the community, usually fish as it is a cultural practice for kin to provide loved ones suffering through “sorry business” with freshly caught and cooked fish at the time of the funeral and often long after as well (Toussaint, 2014). Nursing considerations for these periods of mourning would be to allow the family (or community) either access to the room where the patient died and prepare …show more content…
While some aspects of aboriginal mourning seem strange and possibly frightening to individuals not familiar with it, it is important for nurses to understand and make considerations for those in mourning such as flexible visiting hours, alternative transport arrangements, following their practices (regarding deceased’s name), and ensuring the community can be together to mourn without upsetting other patients. Community outreach to palliative Indigenous Australians is important to develop further in order to provide culturally appropriate care for Indigenous Australians and to allow them the right to die on country. As nursing professionals are charged with providing holistic and culturally sensitive care for all patients and their families, it is imperative that they are aware of and understand these aspects of aboriginal

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