Florida Hospital System Hospices Service Underused by Blacks, Hispanics
Blacks and Hispanics "have remained largely absent from hospice caseloads" in the Florida Hospital Memorial System, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. One Florida facility, Hospice of Volusia/Flagler, reports that Hispanics and blacks account for 3% of the 4,000 patients it served in 2006. Fran Davis, executive director of the facility, said, "African-Americans, culturally, really believe in prolonging life and value aggressive, life-saving treatment." She added, "There's also a general mistrust of the health care system in general that is really unfortunate. They are afraid that the treatment they get is going to be unfair or inferior. And African-Americans tend to pray for miracles from God, and they think accepting hospice is some kind of statement about giving up on God." Davis' facility is working with the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance on a hospice education and outreach campaign. In addition, research published in the American Geriatrics Society found that blacks were 60% less likely than whites with similar education and income to have a living will or to have designated another individual to make health care decisions if they are unable to do so for themselves. Blacks also were 70% less likely than whites to have specific plans about which end-of-life medical treatments they preferred (Geggis, Daytona Beach News-Journal, 3/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.