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Supporting Muslim families before and after a death in neonatal and paediatric intensive care units

Journal title
Nursing in critical care
Publication year
Al Mutair, A.; Al Ammary, M.; Brooks, L. A.; Bloomer, M. J.

BACKGROUND: The death of a child is regarded as one of the most devastating events for a family. Families are reliant on nurses to not only provide end-of-life care but also to support and care for grieving families in a way that is sensitive to their cultural and religious needs and preferences. AIMS: The aim of this study was to explore the perceived impact and influence of cultural diversity on how neonatal and paediatric intensive care nurses care for Muslim families before and after the death of infants/children. DESIGN: A qualitative descriptive approach was used in this study, conducted in Saudi Arabia. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data from a convenience sample of registered nurses working in neonatal and paediatric intensive care, with experience in providing end-of-life care. Interviews were conducted between July and November, 2018. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed for analysis. RESULTS: Thirteen registered nurses participated; all were born overseas, identified with various faiths and spoke English in the workplace. A respect for diversity and care of the family was prioritized yet impacted by communication challenges. Caring and respect was demonstrated by facilitating important cultural and religious practices important in the Muslim faith. Self-care was identified as important, transcending the culturally diverse nature of the nursing workforce. CONCLUSIONS: Significant challenges exist for a culturally diverse nursing workforce in providing care to a Saudi Muslim population of infants/children and families, before and after a death. Their overriding commitment to respect for others, and an openness to cultural diversity and difference, aided in overcoming the inherent challenges in providing culturally sensitive end-of-life care that meets the needs of Muslim families. These findings provide valuable insights for intensive care clinicians in other countries to address challenges associated with cultural diversity.

Research abstracts