The circle of life

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Gerontol Nurs

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of gerontological nursing


The Hmong are an ethnic minority from Southeast Asia who constitute a growing U.S. population. Gerontological nurses need to understand the cultural meaning and rituals associated with dying, death, and the bereavement process of Hmong Americans. Critical to this is the structure and role of clan and family as a source of support and their involvement in the decision-making process. In this article, we provide an overview of the traditional spiritual beliefs related to life and death with implications for end-of-life and postmortem care. Information was acquired through invited field experiences. Published literature and consultation with Hmong elders were used to clarify, enhance, and validate this understanding.


Bereavement, Laotians -- In Old Age, Rituals and Ceremonies -- In Old Age, Terminal Care -- In Old Age, Aged, Burial Practices, Clothing, Culture, Education, Continuing (Credit), Gerontologic Nursing, Grief, Health Beliefs, Postmortem Care, Religion and Religions, Spirituality

Published Article/Book Citation

The definitive version was published in Journal of gerontological nursing, 33:5 (2007) pp.20-31.

Recommended Citation

Journal of gerontological nursing. 2007 May;33(5):20-31.

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