Our Austrian correspondent ESW has translated an article about the multicultural approach to death and dying as it is practiced in Salzburg. According to ORF.at:
State clinics: Special Rooms For Dying Patients
State clinics in the Austrian province of Salzburg will offer special rooms for dying Muslim patients. These rooms are part of an EU-wide project on the theme of migrant-friendly hospitals, of which non-professional interpreters are also a part.
Salzburg state clinics are currently engaged in intensive deliberations about death and dying in other cultures. This is the reason for the two special rooms set aside, where for instance Muslims can do the ritual washing of their dead.
One out of every ten deaths in Salzburg clinics is a person who comes from a different cultural background. Additional training for employees now concentrates on death and dying in these cultures, according to Margarethe Hader, in charge of patient care.
“The multicultural farewell rooms are visible sign of this focus and the motivation for our employees in order to take care of and deal with these people in a respectful manner,” says Hader.
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“A second room is already being planned. Ritual washings will then be possible. Regrettably, this is not possible at the moment.”
Doris Mack, the senior physician at the state clinic, oversees quality management and is the initiator of these “migrant-friendly hospitals”.
“I myself have learned a lot. German and Austrian patients prefer a pain-free life until their death. But this is not the case in other religions. Some religions prescribe a certain level of pain tolerance. And there are certain rituals, such as ritual washings, which must be followed, or even prayer rooms.”
The multicultural farewell rooms will be coordinated according to the requirements of every religious group, says the assistant for nursing management, Herbert Herbst.
“We are particularly proud of having representatives of all fourteen religious groups in Austria sit down and postulate their quality criteria in the realm of hospital counseling. This is how state clinics want to show their respect for other cultures.”