The Importance of Cultural Competence in Pain and Palliative Care


4.6 out of 5 (57 Reviews)



Post Assessment Questions


Expiration Date

28 Feb 2026

Last Reviewed

1 Mar 2023

Estimated Time To Finish

90 Minutes

Need Help?  If you have a system or content concerns, please contact

Activity Description

Managing pain is often a challenge for health professionals. This is compounded when the patient in pain is dying. Living in an ethnically and culturally diverse society requires healthcare providers to respect and take into account the particular cultures from which their patients come. Health professionals and teams who learn the nuances of culture are rewarded with the knowledge they have been more effective in managing their patients' pain. Also, they are better able to help the family and friends of their patients adjust to the dying process. Keeping in mind the beliefs, experiences, and values of the patients and their families improves the quality of the medical care provided. Pain is perceived by the patient and can only be reported by the patient. Pain is, therefore subjective, and, depending on the verbal skills of the patient, can be difficult to describe. Putting pain into words requires a degree of self-awareness and is colored by the cultural background of the patient. Pain is a common symptom of many diseases and is often experienced at the end of life. Studies have shown as much as half of those dying experience moderate to severe pain in the final months of life. For the health practitioner, this highlights the importance of frequent pain assessment, pain management, and adjustment of pain medications. Palliative care relieves suffering in patients with life-threatening illnesses and maximizes their quality of life. Palliative care may be necessary for those diagnosed with cancer, degenerative neurologic diseases, painful neurologic diseases, and those diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to relieve symptoms of breathlessness. Hospice or end-of-life palliative care is often provided to dying patients, particularly during the final months of life. This activity reviews the evaluation of pain and palliative care in a culturally sensitive manner. It highlights the role of the interprofessional team in the management of pain and palliation in this setting.

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the learner will be better able to:

  • Identify some cultural pain perceptions.
  • Review cultural barriers to palliative care.
  • Describe cultural pain differences.
  • Outline how the interprofessional team can work with the patient and family to provide pain relief in the setting of palliative care.


StatPearls requires everyone who influences the content of an educational activity to disclose relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies that have occurred within the past 24 months. All relevant conflict(s) of interest have been mitigated. Hover over contributor names for financial disclosures. None of the planners of this educational activity have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

COMMERCIAL SUPPORT: This activity has received NO commercial support.

Continuing Education Accreditation Information

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, and StatPearls, LLC. The Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University designates this activity for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity is reported to the following Maintenance of Certification (MOC) boards:
American Board of Anesthesiology
  • Pain Medicine
American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine

Instructions for Credit

  1. Register for the activity and create a StatPearls login.     
  2. Review the target audience, learning objectives, and disclosure information.
  3. Study the educational content in the activity.
  4. Choose the best answer to each activity test question. To receive credit, you must pass the test questions with a minimum score of 100%.
  5. Complete the post-activity assessment.
  6. Obtain a certificate.

For information on the applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.


Faculty may discuss investigational products or off-label uses of products regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Readers should verify all information before employing any therapies described in this educational activity.

The information provided for this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical/clinical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The information presented does not necessarily reflect the views of StatPearls or any commercial supporters of educational activities on StatPearls specifically disclaims responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through a participant's misunderstanding of the content.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing and a money-back guarantee is provided if not completely satisfied.

  • StatPearlsand and Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University reserve the right to cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances. StatPearls andQuillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University will not be responsible for other expenses incurred by the participant in the unlikely event that the program is canceled.

Medium or Media Used:

  • Computer Requirements: Internet Access
  • E-mail Address

Equal Opportunity

  • StatPearls andQuillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Equal Access Institutions. 


Media Usage Rights

The contributors and editors of StatPearls have attested that all associated media (images and video) have been legally cleared for use with this activity.  All copyrights are reserved.


    Deborah Z. on 1/29/2021

    Kristy T. on 9/7/2021

    Karl S. on 11/25/2021

    deborah c. on 5/6/2022

    Pamela D. on 5/31/2022

    Rodabeh M. on 6/5/2022

    AC R. on 6/18/2022

    Lorraine C. on 7/3/2022

    Shannon j. on 7/9/2022

    Peter M. on 8/17/2022

    Christina M. on 8/17/2022

    Victoria S. on 8/25/2022

    Elisabeth H. on 9/3/2022

    Emily A. on 9/7/2022

    Lorenzo H. on 9/6/2022

    hary a. on 9/10/2022

    Sourabh M. on 9/17/2022

    Nassifatou B. on 9/18/2022

    Spencer a. on 9/19/2022

    Ashley H. on 9/26/2022

    Todd B. on 10/7/2022

    jaime r. on 10/14/2022

    jalil r. on 10/15/2022

    Theodore B. on 10/27/2022

    Christine G. on 11/2/2022

    Adam S. on 11/16/2022

    Thank you!

    Marilyn s. on 11/29/2022

    Michael F. on 12/12/2022

    thank you

    Rochelle V. on 12/13/2022

    Brian C. on 12/21/2022

    Landon S. on 12/23/2022

    long h. on 1/1/2023

    Scott C. on 1/15/2023

    paul s. on 1/16/2023

    jon d. on 1/17/2023

    CATHERINE R. on 1/31/2023

    Thank you

    Terrence P. on 2/3/2023

    Sharon B. on 2/6/2023

    useful activity and reference

    Leilani G. on 2/7/2023

    Richard W. on 2/18/2023

    Shanae M. on 2/19/2023

    Pete W. on 2/24/2023

    Lesly P. on 2/27/2023

    Dong O. on 2/28/2023

    Christina T. on 3/18/2023

    Christine G. on 4/1/2023

    mariam g. on 4/22/2023

    Ronald A. on 4/9/2023

    Ila M. on 4/9/2023

    Mei-Chia L. on 4/24/2023

    Kinga V. on 4/24/2023


    Daniela E. on 5/2/2023

    Ashley H. on 5/17/2023

    Monica K. on 5/19/2023

    Vincent G. on 5/23/2023

    Peter M. on 6/1/2023

    Jennifer R. on 6/4/2023

    Unlimited Physician CME

    Stay up to date on the latest medical knowledge with 6673 CME activities. In these online self-assessment activities, read our reference articles and test your knowledge with more than 7930 hours of CME.

    Learn About Lifetime CME

    Single Activity

    Take this single activity

    $58.5 1 activity

    6 Month Unlimited Physician CME

    Access to all the Unlimited Physician CME activities in all specialties.

    $289 per half year per user

    1 Year Unlimited Physician CME

    Access to all the Unlimited Physician CME activities in all specialties.

    $399 per 1 year per user