Barriers to Using Palliative Care

Sheronda Drisdom

African American, palliative care, culturally sensitive communications, culture
CJON 2013, 17(4), 376-380. DOI: 10.1188/13.CJON.376-380

As the hospice care setting becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, attending to the different conditions and needs of various groups is essential to providing optimal care. African Americans make up only a small percentage of hospice users in the United States. This article highlights barriers associated with the underenrollment of African Americans into hospice and palliative care programs. A thorough analysis of the literature was conducted to define hospice and palliative care and assess circumstances that impact the use of hospice services by African Americans. Many African Americans are not choosing hospice care because of cultural issues or knowledge deficits, whether through lack of communication or low literacy. Healthcare providers can begin by familiarizing themselves with hospice organizations and developing and putting into practice strategies to communicate with and educate patients and families about hospice care in a culturally sensitive manner.

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