Understanding The Mexican American Viewpoint On End Of Life Care

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When a person is dying, each culture has traditions and beliefs that influence end- of-life care. This paper discusses cultural beliefs and practices surrounding end of life care and death within the Latino culture, particularly focusing on people of Mexican origin. According to Spector (2013), of the over 50.5 million Hispanic individuals living in the U.S, Mexicans make up the overwhelming majority of the Hispanic community. Understanding how Mexican-Americans traditionally view end-of-life care allows a health care worker to better serve the patient as the patient transitions from acute care to palliative care or hospice care. Cultural attitudes influence the process of decision making at the end-of-life.
Understanding the Mexican-American Viewpoint on End of Life
In order to better understand traditional Mexican-American viewpoints on end of life care and death practices, I conducted an interview with Jaime, a forty year old, Mexican-American male living in the United States. He has lived in the United States for almost twenty years. From my discussion with him, he said that the overwhelming emotion that surrounds how death is perceived in his cultural and religion was sadness; he acknowledged that death is a part of life, but that there should be a sad, outward emotional response (Jaime Zuniga, personal communication, April 17, 2016). He is Catholic and believes that after a person dies, he or she goes to Heaven. The order of events after someone dies is

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