Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hospice Diversity Outreach: Share Best Practices (Video .32)

Quality end-of-life care is an entitlement for everyone. That is the hospice philosophy. Unfortunately, hospice services continue to be underutilized nationally among various racial-ethnic groups and cultures. While several barriers to utilization have been studied, solutions always include the necessity of more diversity outreach by hospice organizations.

Hospice organizations must take proactive outreach roles in presenting the benefits hospice provides, while making all recipients of their services feel welcomed and respected. These are a few examples of outreach best practices:

1.  Having a committee to identify, educate, and serve populations not
     being served
2.  Changing photos on brochures and other media materials to reflect diverse populations
3.  Making cultural diversity an important part of staff development and
4.  Having 24/7 language interpretation services provided and included in media outreach
5.  Participating in racial-ethnic and cultural health initiatives, festivals, and events

I recently visited the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. As soon as the guide approached me, I said, “As-Salāmu`Alaykum,” probably with a Southern drawl. This is an Arabic greeting often translated as “Peace be with you.” It’s used among Muslims around the world. The guide immediately smiled widely, not because my Arabic language skills are good, but I think because he appreciated that I had made an effort to respect his culture. It may seem like a small thing, but my personal language “outreach” brought a new energy and acceptance to our meeting. That’s what diversity outreach can do.

In the video below titled Avow Hospice Speaks the Language of Care & Compassion, Avow Hospice sends a similar kind of message to their website viewers by addressing them in Spanish, French, Creole, and English, demonstrating that “care, compassion, and respect for family traditions and culture have no language boundaries.” Their website, which, translates into other languages, reaches out.

Sharing successful diversity outreach best practices can be a great strategy for hospices in promoting diversity in larger numbers.  Surely, there are hospice organizations that have created positive diversity outreach practices that can benefit others.  By sharing what your organization is doing, you send messages to other hospice organizations, potential staff members, patients, and community members that you support the hospice philosophy of quality end-of-life care for everyone.


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. AnonymousMay 16, 2012

    Thank you for showing the diversity here. Hospice is for everyone!

  2. Thank you for commenting. Actually, I have addressed the hospice diversity issue in previous posts. Unfortunately, few hospices have responded or shared their best practices on this topic.