In the Asian culture, there is often a belief that terminally ill patients should not be informed about their prognosis. Would you respect the cultural practice and not inform a patient about the prognosis? Is there a way for health care providers to balance the patient’s right to know with respect for the cultural practices and beliefs of the family? Is not fully disclosing information to the patient an ethical breach? 500 words and 2 sources Purchase the answer to view it

Title: Balancing Cultural Practices and Patient Autonomy in End-of-Life Care: The Ethical Dilemma of Prognosis Disclosure in Asian Cultures


The disclosure of prognosis to terminally ill patients has been a subject of ethical debate, particularly when considering cultural practices and beliefs. In Asian cultures, there is often a belief that patients should not be informed about their prognosis. This stance is rooted in the emphasis on protecting the patient from emotional distress and maintaining harmony within the family. However, this raises ethical concerns regarding patient autonomy and the requirement to provide complete and accurate information to individuals under healthcare. This essay will explore the challenges healthcare providers face in balancing a patient’s right to know with compliance with cultural practices. Specifically, this piece will discuss whether not fully disclosing information to a patient is an ethical breach and propose a framework for maintaining cultural sensitivity while respecting patient autonomy.

Ethical Considerations:

The principle of respect for autonomy guides healthcare professionals to provide patients with the necessary information to make informed decisions about their health. However, this principle may be at odds with certain cultural practices in Asian societies, where the family is often considered the primary decision-maker. In Asian cultures, there is a perception that disclosing a terminal prognosis may lead to unnecessary distress and anxiety, disrupt the harmony of the family, and challenge the hierarchical dynamics between the physician and the patient.

Nevertheless, withholding pertinent information about the prognosis from the patient raises ethical concerns. A breach of autonomy occurs when patients are deprived of relevant information necessary for decision-making regarding their care. Autonomy necessitates respect for the patient’s right to make informed choices, understanding the expected outcomes and potential risks associated with their treatment options. By withholding prognostic information, healthcare providers undermine patients’ ability to exercise their autonomy and participate meaningfully in shared decision-making processes.

Patient-Centered Approach:

Healthcare professionals must strive for a patient-centered approach that respects cultural values while aiming for the best interest of the patient. A culturally sensitive approach acknowledges the importance of understanding and appreciating cultural beliefs and practices, but also recognizes the need to balance them with the ethical obligations of healthcare providers. This approach encourages open communication and collaboration among patients, families, and healthcare professionals to develop an effective care plan.

Providing culturally competent care requires healthcare professionals to respect cultural practices while ensuring the provision of relevant medical information. This can be achieved by employing a shared decision-making model that recognizes the input of the patient, their family, and healthcare professionals. Meaningful discussions should be facilitated, engaging patients in a dialogue about their values, preferences, and beliefs, in addition to their understanding of their diagnosis and prognosis. By employing this approach, healthcare providers can identify cultural needs, respect the patient’s desire for information provision, and strike an appropriate balance between cultural practices and patient autonomy.

Integrating Collaboration and Education:

To overcome the challenges associated with cultural practices and the disclosure of prognosis, healthcare providers must engage in ongoing education and training in cultural competency. This includes gaining a deeper understanding of the nuances and diversity within Asian cultures, as well as recognizing the potential impact of different cultural beliefs on end-of-life care. Education can help healthcare professionals develop the necessary skills to navigate cultural differences, communicate effectively, and develop patient-centered care plans.

Moreover, interdisciplinary collaboration is essential in providing holistic care that respects cultural practices and promotes patient autonomy. Engaging the patient, their family, and healthcare professionals from various disciplines can facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s values, while allowing for an exploration of cultural practices and their compatibility with ethical principles. This collaborative approach enables healthcare providers to develop a care plan that addresses cultural concerns while ensuring the patient’s autonomy and best interests.


The ethical dilemma of prognosis disclosure in Asian cultures requires a nuanced approach that respects patient autonomy while being sensitive to cultural practices and beliefs. Balancing cultural practices and patient rights necessitates a patient-centered approach guided by thorough education and interdisciplinary collaboration. By promoting open communication, engaging in shared decision-making, and recognizing the diversity within Asian cultures, healthcare providers can navigate this ethical dilemma effectively, ensuring the delivery of culturally appropriate, patient-centered care at the end of life.