Accommodating Ethnic Diversity

A Study of California Hospice Programs

Published in: Medical Care, v. 42, no. 9, Sep. 2004, p. 871-874

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Karl Lorenz, Susan L. Ettner, Kenneth Rosenfeld, David Carlisle, Hui Liu, Steven M. Asch

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BACKGROUND: Studies have confirmed ethnic disparities in the use of hospice services and identified barriers that minorities face in accessing care. OBJECTIVES: The authors sought to determine whether hospices provide services that might affect minority participation. RESEARCH DESIGN: The authors surveyed California hospices to determine whether programs use diverse health care providers and volunteers, offer translation, diverse spiritual care, or outreach materials and whether they plan to expand such services. Linking the data to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development annual home care and hospice survey and 2000 US Census, they used multivariate linear regression to evaluate the relationship of program characteristics (profit status, size, chain/freestanding status, urban/rural location, and proportion of nonwhite residents) to services that might affect minority participation. SUBJECTS: One hundred of 149 programs that the authors surveyed responded. RESULTS: Many programs offer translation (81%), diverse providers (63%) and volunteers (64%), and culturally diverse spiritual services (52%). Few (21%) were conducting outreach, but 23/25 programs expanding services reported plans to improve outreach. In multivariate models adjusted for program size, chain status, profit status, urban/rural location, proportion of nonwhite residents, the authors found that larger hospices and those in ethnically diverse zip codes were more likely to offer such services. Larger hospices are more likely to report expanding such services. CONCLUSIONS: Many hospices are making efforts to accommodate ethnically diverse patients, but a substantial number are not. Culturally appropriate care and outreach should be addressed in efforts to improve the acceptability and experience of hospice care among minorities.

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