“We Are Here to Assist All Individuals Who Need Hospice Services”: Hospices’ Perspectives on Improving Access and Inclusion for Racial/Ethnic Minorities
Hughes, M. Courtney, 1976--
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Background: Racial/ethnic minority populations in the United States are less likely to utilize hospice services nearing their end of life, potentially diminishing their quality of care while also increasing medical costs. Objective: Explore the minority hospice utilization gap from the hospice perspective by examining perceived barriers and facilitators as well as practices and policies. Method: Qualitative surveys were conducted with 41 hospices across the United States. Qualitative data analysis included performing a limited content analysis, including the identification of themes and representative quotations. Results: Commonly reported barriers to hospice care for racial/ethnic minorities included culture/beliefs, mistrust of the medical system, and language barriers. A major theme pertaining to successful minority hospice enrollment was an inclusive culture that provided language services, staff cultural training, and a diverse staff. Another major theme was the importance of community outreach activities that extended beyond the medical community and forming relationships with churches, racial/ethnic minority community leaders, and Native American reservations. Conclusion: The importance of incorporating a culture of inclusivity by forming committees, providing language services, and offering culturally competent care emerged in this qualitative study. Building strong external relationships with community groups such as churches is a strategy used to increase racial/ethnic minority utilization of hospice.