Culturally different view of illness may impact on food preference between Chinese patients and Australian patients

Culturally different view of illness may impact on food preference between Chinese patients and Australian patients

Culturally different view of illness may impact on food preference between Chinese patients and Australian patients, which link to their admission willingness and health service satisfactory. Chinese health beliefs in relation to the cause of illness is significantly influence by the fundamental concept of yin and yang, which contrast with Western scientific health perspective oriented from Cartesian philosophy (Jiang & Quave, 2013; Lu, Sylvestre, Melnychuk, & Li, 2008; Payne, Seymour, Chapman, & Holloway, 2008). The idea of yin and yang emphasizes on maintaining the balance of two opposite energy entities, which are described as heating and cooling food, to regulate harmony of the body (ref). Imbalance between them may toxicate the body and result in development of illness (Lu et al., 2008). Western concept of illness highlights on abnormal function and the structure of the body systems instead of food effect (Lu et al., 2008). To illustrate, an Australian patient with Pylori gastric ulcer may not be concerned about drinking cold water and having sandwiches because he believes the cause of this disease is infection. Whereas a Chinese patient may believe it is inappropriate to have cold and raw food which may worsen their condition as they believe this will damage the balance of yin and yang. As the hospital meals are mainly western food, issues of dislike the food will decrease Chinese patient’s admission willingness and service satisfactory. The intervention of catering the health belief on food for Chinese patients is to promote the flexibility of family bring their own food, such as home-made chicken soup, if there is no diet restriction, or negotiate with the food service department in hospital to adjust the menu, adding some Asian food options. If the patient has some diet restriction, nurse can refer dietitian for further consultation to meet the patients’ preference.
Effective intercultural therapeutic communication is important when encounters a patient with different linguistic backgrounds. Undoubtedly, language barrier due to the deficiency of counterpart’s language skills can directly lead to miscommunication between the two speakers. Miscommunication can result in the difficulty of giving and obtaining informed consent in health care. Without a fully understandable and suitable explanation of the clinical procedure, patient misunderstands the information is considered a violation of patient’s rights and may result in misdiagnosis, which cause a low satisfactory and a higher possibility of negative health outcomes (Hughson et al., 2018). Indeed, language is a key factor for communicating, interpreter involvement can effectively facilitate communication (Guo, Munshi, Cockburn-Wootten, & Simpson, 2014; Hughson et al., 2018). Besides this, utilising effective intercultural therapeutic communication is practical and efficient to be able to establish harmonious relationships with the patient for accurate diagnosis and treatment (Paternotte, van Dulmen, van der Lee, Scherpbier, & Scheele, 2015). Accordingly, specific skills are required, including actively listen, use simple, plain words to explain, paraphrase and repeat the main points. Moreover, utilising translated materials or extra attribute, such as health education handouts, brochures and pictures or diagrams, respectively, can help on comprehensive expression (Paternotte et al., 2015). Providing adequate time for the patient to absorb and think about the information in order to help the patient be able to give response and decision. By practicing these strategies can effectively develop intercultural relationship which reduce the gap and the tension between patients and health professionals as well as achieve optimal outcomes on patients’ heath.
Delivering religiously spiritual support and care for patients at the end of life is crucial. As a consequence of historical impact of European migration to Australia, more than half of Australian are Christians, while only 2.4% of the population believes in Buddhism (ABS, 2017). Excluding Atheist, in comparison, Buddhism (18.2%) is the most common religion in China, yet, merely 5.1% of Chinese is Christians. Namely, the major beliefs in Buddhism after people ‘s death is that the person ‘s spirit will linger on the corpse for 8 hours to help the spirit continues its journey calmly to higher states, not causing the spirit becoming angry and confused (Chan, Poon, ; Hegney, 2011). During this time, family members of Buddhist patient will expect to read the Buddhist scriptures and stay with the patient. No one are supposed to touch the corpse, having to wait 3-8 hours after breathing ceases before touching the body for any preparation after the death. Thus, nurse ought to have the cultural sensitivity to assess patient’s religious background once the hospital admission, to comprise social worker within the discussion between the Chinese patient and the family member about their religious wishes and goals. Understanding and respecting Buddhist perspective of death, nurse can arrange a private room in advance and provide enough time for preparing the ritual. Furthermore, approachability of religious materials, such as offering Buddhist scriptures and songs on the ward and allowing people to listen, read, write and study, can help acquiring religious solace and sustenance (ref). By assessing, integrating and respecting spiritual needs into the overall care plan of dying, nurses are able to provide holistic end of life care, to meet religious goals and wishes of the patients and family, and to help patients accomplish a good death (Chan et al., 2011).


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