Sunday, April 27, 2014

Urban Palliative Care: Low-Income Communities (Research)

I have spent my entire adult life working in urban, low-income communities. With a 96% poverty level, my school where I was principal in Detroit had more homeless students than any school in Michigan. If you are working to deliver palliative care to inner-city patients and caregivers in these communities, you must become knowledgeable about the social and economic barriers that can hinder their access to quality palliative care. 

A healthcare focus group consisting of community stakeholders including healthcare professionals, persons living with chronic illnesses, and caregivers in five inner-city communities reported these five themes:

1)   Lack of family support
2)   Communication barriers with healthcare professionals
3)   Stresses of being a person of color or another minority
4)   Caregiver burdens
5)   Lack of spiritual support

Community outreach is mandatory for reaching this population. Also needed are cultural sensitivity, available resources, and services to improve access to care. Low-income populations with chronic illnesses in urban communities are entitled to quality of life just like everyone else. This isn’t only a healthcare issue. It’s a moral one.

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.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog