The unprecedented scale of contemporary migration across countries over the last decade means that ageing and dying occur in a more globalised, multicultural context. It is therefore essential to explore the end-of-life experiences of older people from migrant backgrounds.
A scoping review of peer-reviewed articles published in English from 2008 to 2018. Included studies addressed end-of-life preferences, attitudes, values and beliefs of first-generation international migrants who were at least 50 years of age.
Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria for this review, which addressed six key themes: (1) the reluctance among older migrants and their families to talk about death and dying; (2) difficult communication in patient-clinician relationships; (3) the contrast between collectivistic and individualistic norms and its associated end-of-life preferences; (4) limited health literacy in older adults from migrant backgrounds; (5) experiences with systemic barriers like time pressure, inflexibility of service provision and lack of cultural sensitivity and (6) the need for care providers to appreciate migrants’ ‘double home experience’ and what this means for end-of-life decision-making regarding place of care and place of death.
To respond effectively to an increasingly culturally diverse population, healthcare staff, researchers and policymakers need to invest in the provision of culturally sensitive end-of-life care. Areas for improvement include: (a) increased awareness of cultural needs and the role of family members; (b) cultural training for healthcare staff; (c) access to interpreters and translated information and (d) involvement of older migrants in end-of-life discussions, research and policymaking.