Racial Differences in End-of-Life Care Quality Between Asian Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites in San Francisco Bay Area

Published in: Journal of Palliative Medicine (2020). doi: 10.1089/jpm.2020.0627

Posted on RAND.org on March 02, 2021

by Hyosin Kim, Rebecca Anhang Price, Jennifer N. Bunker, Melissa A. Bradley, Danielle Schlang, Julia Bandini, Joan M. Teno

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Little is known about end-of-life care experiences of Asian Americans and gaps in end-of-life care quality between Asians and non-Hispanic whites.


Compare the perceptions of next-of-kin of Asian and non-Hispanic white decedents on end-of-life care quality.


Mortality follow-back survey.


Population-based sample of 108 Asian and 414 non-Hispanic white bereaved family members or close friends of adult, nontraumatic deaths in the San Francisco Bay area in 2018.


Survey items examined whether health care professionals treated the dying person with respect and dignity, respected their cultural traditions, respected their religious or spiritual beliefs, provided enough information about what to expect during the last month of life, provided emotional support to the family after the patient's death, and whether the dying person and the family received the needed help after work hours.


Of the 623 surveys (weighted n = 6513), 108 (weighted percentage = 17.6%) were from caregivers of Asian decedents. Almost half of these respondents indicated that they did not always experience respect for their cultural traditions (45.9% vs. 21.8%, p = 0.00) or respect for their religious and spiritual beliefs (42.2% vs. 24.5%, p = 0.01). With the exception of two outcomes, worse caregiver-reported care quality for Asian decedents persisted after adjustment for cause of death, site of death, type of health insurance, respondent's relationship to decedent, decedent age, and respondent education.


Compared with caregivers of non-Hispanic whites, caregivers of Asian decedents reported unmet needs for caregiver support and lack of respect for cultural traditions and religious/spiritual beliefs.

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