Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


Death Rituals

Purnell's Model

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Family roles & organization
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Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

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Death rituals

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Health care practices
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Health care practitioners




  •  When death is impending, the entire family will gather, pray, cry, and use religious medallions or other spiritual artifacts.29, 30, 31, 32 

  • When a person dies, the entire extended family is affected. The oldest family member makes all the arrangements and notifies the family. The body is kept until the entire family can gather.15, 29, 30, 31, 32 

  • The last bath is usually given by a family member.29, 30

  • Organ donation is not viewed as an option. Cremation also is not considered since the body is thought to be necessary for resurrection.29, 30

  • Haitians prefer to die at home, although the hospital is acceptable.29, 30

  • Autopsy is allowed in certain circumstances. If it is thought that the death was a result of maleficence, an autopsy may be requested. An autopsy may also be requested to ensure that the body is actually dead and not a zombie. The notion of Zombies seems to be more prevalent with rural Haitians than with urban residents. Zombies are created as a result of greed or malevolence.29, 30

  • Mourning practices include veye , dernier priye, and prise de deuil. Veye are preburial activities. Dernier priye is a 7 day home based ritual consisting of 7 days of prayer. This process is to help the soul pass into the next world. Prise de deuil takes place on the 7th day and is similar to a funeral. This begins the official mourning period.29, 30

Copyright  2003