Communication With Relatives and Collusion in Palliative Care: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Indian J Palliat Care. 2009 Jan;15(1):2-9. doi: 10.4103/0973-1075.53485.


Handling collusion among patients and family members is one of the biggest challenges that palliative care professionals face across cultures. Communication with patients and relatives can be complex particularly in filial cultures where families play an important role in illness management and treatment decision-making. Collusion comes in different forms and intensity and is often not absolute. Some illness-related issues may be discussed with the patient, whereas others are left unspoken. Particularly in palliative care, the transition from curative to palliative treatment and discussion of death and dying are often topics involving collusion. Communication patterns may also be influenced by age, gender, age, and family role. This paper outlines different types of collusion and how collusion manifests in Indian and Western cultures. In addition, promising avenues for future research are presented.

Keywords: Collusion; Communication; Culture; Palliative care.