Box 4.
  • Attempting to generalise in the Hindu patient is difficult. There is no single central authority or compliance with a single doctrine and so practices and traditions will vary greatly

  • There appears to be a universal belief in reincarnation and karma. Life on earth is viewed as a transition between the previous life and the next one

  • The family have a duty to assist the dying and to perform the last rites. Additionally, families may wish to protect their loved ones from the prognosis of death

  • Suicide is frowned upon but some traditions state grounds for voluntary euthanasia to prevent extreme suffering; however, this is a controversial and poorly defined area

  • Unnecessarily prolonging life when the prognosis is poor is viewed as interfering with karma and reincarnation

  • Non-faith members are permitted to handle the body provided they are of the same gender