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Practical Insights for Busy Caregivers

Finding your way in the health care system when you’re from a different culture


October 22, 2018, by

Last week, we heard insights from four different family caregivers. One of them, Eileen, talked about her encounters with the health care system when looking after her partner, Michael.
But what would it have been like for Eileen if she’d been from a different culture?
In a short video posted on, Farah Amoli and Soodie Joolaee describe how people from Iran sometimes feel lost in the Canadian health care system because of how different it is from the Iranian system. For instance, patients with an Iranian background, who are used to having doctors tell them what to do, may be less inclined to follow a Canadian doctor’s advice when it’s phrased as a recommendation.
Other interviews on explore how traditions and expectations of care differ for the following cultures:
  • First Nations
  • Inuit
  • Métis
  • Chinese
  • Ethiopian
  • Filipino
  • Indian
  • Iranian
  • Italian
  • Pakistani
  • Somali
Some video clips are in-language. (For example, while most of the clips that talk about Italian culture are in English, some are actually in Italian.) is hosted by the Canadian Virtual Hospice. It’s a useful resource for patients, families, and the health care providers supporting them, even when the patient doesn’t have a life-threatening condition.