Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Afterlife: Patients’ Cultural Beliefs (Research, Video 2:27)
I asked one of my hospice patients what she thought happened after death. She responded, “Nothing. Dead people are out of trouble, and we’re still in it.” Death has different meanings for different people. Some may choose how to respond based on cultural influences. Of course, basic cultural influences can differ even within a particular cultural group. Patients and their loved ones may want to share these beliefs with healthcare caregivers, so they can better understand their personal death experiences. Their responses to patients can be very helpful to patients.
This research on the soul and afterlife was done from a cultural perspective with older adult Mexican American (MA), European American (EA), and African American (AA) participants.
These were the results:
1) Most participants said that the soul lives on after physical death, leaves the body immediately at death, and eventually reaches heaven.
2) Many participants also said death ends physical suffering.
3) More AAs than MAs or EAs said that they believed that the soul after physical death exists in the world or interacts with the living.
4) In every ethnic group, more women than men said they believed that the soul exists in the world.
Has the first evidence of life after death been found? In the largest study ever done on this topic, researchers at the University of Southhampton, England examined 2,000 cases of patients who suffered cardiac arrest and were later brought back to life. During the time when their brains had no measurable activity, as many as 40% recalled experiencing some sort of awareness.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.