Exploring Cultural Values that Underpin the Ethical and Legal Framework of End-of-Life Care: a Focus Group Study of South Asians
The central tenets of the legal and ethical framework that govern end-of-life care are dignity, equality, freedom of religion and respect for self-determined choice. These are variously protected by common law, statute and the European Convention of Human Rights. The interpretation and implementation of policies that govern end-of-life care depend upon the values that are attributed to these four principles. The cultural values that underpin these principles were explored in a focus group study of South Asians, the largest minority ethnic group in Britain. The findings revealed that the values attributed to dignity and equality were fundamental and humanitarian. Faith-based beliefs reflected values of expression and freedom of religion, legal protection of the same and culture-based spirituality. Traditional autonomous decision-making was considered to be less important than involvement of the family and the communitarian ethic. The social impact of values such as these will be directly significant when implementing policies and processes intended to ensure that minority ethnic groups enjoy equality in end-of-life care. The findings of the study are contextualised within a theoretical legal and ethical framework.
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Document Type: Regular Paper
Publication date: June 1, 2013
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