Language, Cultural, Cost Barriers Prevent Many Minorities From Using Hospice Services
Members of minority groups are less likely to use hospice services than whites, with cultural and language differences partly responsible for the disparity, the McAllen Monitor reports. According to a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Hispanics and blacks were more likely to die at home than whites but were less likely to use hospice care. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization says that 1.2 million people in the U.S. used hospice care in 2005, up from 700,000 in 2000. The organization says that hospice use by minorities is increasing, though blacks' participation in hospice decreased from 2004 through 2005. According to hospice officials and experts, some minority communities, such as Hispanics, are reluctant to discuss end-of-life care, such as hospice services. In addition, even though many hospices offer interpreter services, language barriers can prevent use of hospice. Ability to pay also can be a factor in minorities' use of hospice, according to the Monitor (McEver, McAllen Monitor, 11/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.