There was an article posted today by Sarah Varney in The New York Times entitled, “A Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward Hospice Care.” It states in part that, “nearly half of white Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice before death, compared with only a third of black patients. The racial divide is even more pronounced when it comes to advance care directives — legal documents meant to help families make life-or-death decisions that reflect a patient’s choices. Some 40 percent of whites aged 70 and over have such plans, compared with only 16 percent of blacks.”
The article goes on to further discuss this disparity, and I recommend you take a moment to read it. The article makes some very valid points. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the great work NHPCO, is doing to educate under-served communities about the benefits of hospice.
To help address this disparity in end-of-life care, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has created a Diversity Advisory Council – a group of hospice and healthcare professionals and experts who will work to increase access to hospice and palliative care services. The Council assists with the development of additional resources and tools related to serving diverse populations. The group offers recommendations and educational content to NHPCO members who are seeking to connect with diverse populations in the communities they serve. NHPCO is also forming partnerships within African American communities to help educate consumers (families, patients and caregivers) on hospice and palliative care.
NHPCO is also bringing educational resources to hospice providers so that they can better communicate their services within these diverse communities. At the upcoming Clinical Team Conference, one of the featured pre-conference seminars will touch on these issues:
- 2015 Clinical Team Conference and Pediatric Intensive
Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas
Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
PC02 – Best Practices for Improving Access and Outreach to Communities of Color in End of Life Care
Richard Payne, MD, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC
Kimberly S. Johnson, MD, MHS, Duke University, Durham, NC
Corey Kennard, MS, KINGDOM Equipping Ministries, Detroit, MI
If you are interested in learning more about these initiatives, or how you can get involved, please contact Cozzie King, Manager of Access Programs at NHPCO. She graciously contributed the information for this blog post and is a wealth on information on hospice and access issues.