Nursing Strategies for Engaging Families of Older Immigrants Hospitalized for End-of-Life Care: An Australian Study

Megan Jane Johnstone, Alison M. Hutchinson, Helen Rawson, Bernice Redley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Engaging with families of older non-English-speaking background (NESB) immigrants hospitalized for end-of-life (EOL) care can be challenging, especially when their cultures, lifeways, and family decision-making processes are unfamiliar to the nurses caring for them. Despite the recognized importance of family engagement when providing EOL care, the issue of ethnic minority family engagement has received little attention in the field. Aim: To explore and describe the strategies nurses use to facilitate engagement with families of older immigrant NESB patients hospitalized for EOL care. Methods: A qualitative descriptive approach was used. Data were collected via in-depth interviews conducted with 22 registered nurses recruited from 4 Australian health services. Findings: Using thematic analysis processes, 5 key strategies were identified: listening and understanding families, encouraging family members to speak first, dealing with angst, redressing naive views about the dying process, and managing intergenerational differences. Underpinning these strategies was a profound “will to engage” with the families and their cultural worldviews. Conclusion: Further cross-cultural comparative research is required to inform evidence-based policies, practice, and education on this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Patient Experience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • aged
  • Australia
  • cultural diversity
  • end-of-life care
  • engagement
  • family
  • hospitalization
  • immigrants
  • nurse–family relationships

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