Dear fellow caregivers,
You are welcoming a patient from Italy.
Here is a list of useful information to know in the context of their medical care.

General Information

Distance Paris ✈ Rome : 687 miles
60.4 million inhabitants / Average salary: $2,872 per month
Literacy rate: 99.2% / Life expectancy: 83 years
Spoken language : Italian

● The most common infectious diseases are: COVID-19, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika.


Family scene

Family is of absolute importance in Italian life.
● In the Italian culture, punctuality is not paramount. It is not uncommon for patients to show up for appointments 15-30 minutes late. This is more common for people from the south of Italy.
● Generally speaking, Italian people are very expressive when it comes to communication.
● Italians need to form a close relationship with the caregiver and enjoy talking to them about their personal lives and passions.

Beliefs, Practices & Rituals

The Pope surrounded by young believers

Catholicism is the main religion in Italy and exerts influence on most aspects of daily life.
Religious symbols are displayed on many public buildings and patients may want to hang some in their rooms.
● Many people are named after saints and celebrate their saint’s day as their own birthday.

Eating habits

Meals between 3 generations of the same family

Coffee, wine and cheese all play a major role in Italian gastronomy.
● Meals are seen as a time to share and exchange with family and friends and can last a long time.

Pregnancy and motherhood

Children participating in class

● In Italy, abortion is allowed. However, 70% of gynecologists refuse to perform it because of religious beliefs.

End-of-life care

Grandparents watching a child having fun

● It is not uncommon for Italians to request a priest to provide extreme unction for the sick.
● Catholics may see death as the passage from this life to eternal life and are generally confident in the eventual resurrection of any believing person who dies.
● In Italy, life-extending treatments may not be accepted if they are considered futile.
● Out of religious conviction, assisted suicide/euthanasia is never considered.
● There are no church rules against organ donation and it is an acceptable practice for most Italians.
Everyone is considered an organ donor, unless they have expressed their refusal, prior to death.

Examples of Cases Encountered

This section allows us to share experiences. Feel free to share yours with the community.


Cleveland Clinic – Diversity Toolkit

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