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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hospice Racial-Ethnic Outreach: More Diverse Stories, Best Practices Needed (Research, Hispanic Video 4:39)


The hospice philosophy promotes the entitlement of quality end-of-life care for everyone. Unfortunately, hospice services are underutilized nationally among racial-ethnic communities. National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization 2013 website statistics report the following for 2011 regarding race and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity:

White/Caucasian   82.8

Multiracial or Other Race   6.1%

Black/African American   8.5%

Asian, Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander   2.4%

American Indian or Alaskan Native   0.2%

Non-Hispanic or Latino Origin   93.8%

Hispanic or Latino Origin   6.2

While several barriers to utilizations have been studied, such as ongoing healthcare disparities, religion, and cultural practices, solutions always include the necessity of more outreach to racial-ethnic groups by hospice organizations. The use of role model stories is one of many ways that can promote diversity.

The Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California researched the racial-ethnic outreach possibilities of comprising a brochure of hospice patient role model stories aimed at improving attitudes and knowledge of hospice among older African Americans. They used community-based organizations that included senior centers, community exercise programs, churches, and senior care management services in the greater Los Angeles area. Participants were African Americans aged 65 and older.

Hospice brochures with role model stories showcased African Americans who had experienced successful hospice programs. They shared their initial attitudes, beliefs, influences affecting their enrollment in the hospice programs, and outcomes resulting from their participation. The conclusion of this study revealed that "exposure to a hospice brochure containing theoretically driven, culturally parallel, role model stories was effective in improving knowledge of and attitudes toward hospice as well as intentions to enroll a family member or self in hospice care.”

Sharing other successful diversity outreach best practices can also be a great strategy for hospices in promoting diversity in larger numbers. When I have brought up this racial-ethnic outreach topic in the past, few hospice organizations have responded. Surely, there are hospice organizations that have created positive diversity outreach practices that can benefit others. By sharing the outreach their organization is doing, hospices send messages to other hospice organizations, current and potential staff members, patients, and community members that they support in practice the hospice philosophy of quality end-of-life care for everyone.

In this role model story video featuring Hispanic brothers, their struggle to find appropriate end-of-life care for their mother is explained. Hospice of the Valley serving central Arizona turned out to be “the best decision” they ever made.





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.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog