Culturally sensitive communication at the end-of-life in the intensive care unit: A systematic review

Laura A. Brooks, Melissa J. Bloomer, Elizabeth Manias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The objectives of this systematic review were the following: (i) to describe whether culturally sensitive communication is used by clinicians (nurses and physicians) when communicating with patients and families at the end-of-life in the intensive care unit and (ii) to evaluate the impact of culturally sensitive communication at the end-of-life. The systematic review question was how is culturally sensitive communication used by clinicians when communicating with patients and families at the end-of-life in the intensive care unit? Data sources: A search of CINAHL, MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO databases identified all peer-reviewed research evidence published in English between January 1994 and November 2017. Two authors independently assessed articles for inclusion. From the 124 articles resulting from the search, nine were included in this systematic review. Review methods: Articles were independently assessed for quality by two authors using Caldwell et al.'s framework to critique health research. The data available in this systematic review were heterogeneous, with varied study designs and outcome measures, making the data unsuitable for meta-analysis. The most appropriate method for data synthesis for this systematic review was narrative synthesis. Results: From the narrative synthesis, two major themes emerged: communication barriers and cultural and personal influences on culturally sensitive communication. Communication barriers were identified in eight studies, influencing the timing and quality of culturally sensitive communication at the end-of-life. Cultural and personal influences on communication at the end-of-life was present in eight studies. Conclusions: The findings of this systematic review show that clinicians lack the knowledge to enable effective interaction with culturally diverse patients and families at the end-of-life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-523
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Cultural diversity
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • End-of-life care
  • Intensive care unit
  • Terminal care

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