“We are here to assist all individuals who need hospice services:”Hughes, MC & Vernon, E: We are here to assist all individuals who need hospice services: hospices’ perspectives on improving access and inclusion for racial/ethnic minorities. Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine: 6:1-7
- Minority populations in West Virginia are less likely to receive hospice care, even though they often want to remain at home in the midst of their family when they are seriously ill.
- Researchers Courtney Hughes and Erin Vernin, who surveyed the administrators of 41 hospices in 22 states, have recently published their findings. Their qualitative study investigated what hospices were doing to try to break down the many barriers to access hospice care for racial and ethnic minorities such as:
- Mistrust of the medical system
- Fear of being denied access to care they need
- Language barriers
- Perception of hospice as ‘giving up’
- Fear of being removed from their homes
- Hughes and Vernin found that ‘building strong relationships with minority communities’ was an important way to increase access to hospice. Some hospices used peer referrals to overcome mistrust and they worked to remove language barriers. Hospices that were able to improve access also had a ‘culture of inclusivity’. This included having diversity in their staff and volunteers and a committee to focus on improving access for minorities.