The Importance of Cultural Competence in Pain and Palliative Care


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Start Date

1 Sep 2023

Last Review Date

1 Sep 2023

Expiration Date

31 Aug 2026

Estimated Time To Finish

90 Minutes

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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, physician associates, nurses, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, dentists, and social workers.

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, LLC 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. Ineligible companies are organizations whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. All relevant conflict(s) of interest have been mitigated. Hover over contributor names for financial disclosures. Others involved in planning this educational activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Commercial Support: This activity has received NO commercial support.

Continuing Education Accreditation Information

In support of improving patient care, StatPearls, LLC is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

As a Jointly Accredited Organization, StatPearls, LLC is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. StatPearls, LLC maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1.50 continuing education credits.

Social Workers: StatPearls, LLC designates this continuing education activity for 1.50 ASWB ACE credit(s) for social workers. Social Workers should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

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

Method of Participation and Credit

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

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This educational activity was planned and produced in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Faculty may discuss investigational products or off-label uses of products regulated by the FDA. 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 expressly 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.

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Cancellation Policy: Please see the cancellation policy. StatPearls, LLC reserves the right to cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances.




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