Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hospice Racial-Ethnic Outreach for Cultural Diversity (Research)

It is no secret that hospice services are underutilized nationally among racial-ethnic minorities. While several barriers to utilization have been studied, solutions always include the necessity of more outreach to racial-ethnic groups by hospice organizations. For example, a study on the willingness of older Korean-American adults to use hospice services highlights the importance of prior knowledge in shaping attitudes toward hospice care. Researchers stress the need for  “community education and outreach programs for racial and ethnic minorities, with specific emphasis on dissemination of information and greater awareness of hospice services.” Sharing successful racial-ethnic outreach practices can be a great strategy for hospices in promoting cultural diversity.
These are a few examples of outreach practices implemented by two hospice organizations:
1)  Starting a committee to identify, educate, and serve populations not being served
2)  Offering free health screenings at local minority churches
3)   Changing photos on brochures to reflect diverse populations
1)  Making cultural diversity an important part of staff development and recruitment
2)  Having language interpretation services provided over the phone and available 24/7
3)   Participating in Latino health initiatives, festivals, and African American events
Many hospice organizations have cultural diversity best practices to share that can benefit other organizations in their quests for cultural diversity. Quality end-of-life care is an entitlement for everyone. That is the hospice philosophy. What is your hospice organization doing to promote racial-ethnic outreach? 

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.


  1. The role of a hospice in our community is so fundamental and a part of life, and serves a role equivalent to that of a maternity hospital.
    One way of getting the word out to all communities is to have a strong online presence, with a blog page, and in this way try to reach out to all cultures and ethnicities.

  2. I'm not sure how effective such a program would be given the fact that many assisted living facilities are cost-prohibitive for many people to begin with. Many higher-end nursing homes are almost elitist due to the high costs of their facilities. Toa ttempt to increase diversity in this type of atmosphere can be very challenging. The intention is admirable but I can't imagine that results would come easily. Assisted Living List Founder