COVID-19 and Supporting Black Communities at the End of Life

Categories: Care and Education.

In recognition of Martin Luther King Day (January 18, 2021) in the United States, NHPCO is republishing information on the position paper released by the NHPCO Diversity Advisory Council.

Diversity Advisory Council Position Paper

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) released a new Position Paper titled COVID-19 and Supporting Black Communities at the End of Life. The paper was released in conjunction with the Diversity Advisory Council social media takeover on August 25. During the takeover, the council used NHPCO’s social media platforms to share information about disparities that exist in hospice and palliative care and provide resources that can help improve access to care, including the new Position Paper.

COVID-19 deaths to date have impacted the lives of Black people and other diverse groups disproportionately, relative to the general population, nationally and internationally. NHPCO’s Diversity Advisory Council prepared the Position Paper to help communities at all levels better understand the “why,” with an emphasis on building trust with diverse populations relative to patient care and the pain, misery, grief, and sorrow caused by the pandemic.

The topics covered in the Position Paper include building trust, the impact of mental distress on chronic disease in the Black community, health care segregation, and how COVID-19 has affected the grieving process of underserved communities.

“We don’t live in a bubble or on an island in isolation. What happens in the rest of society is going to impact hospice and care at the end of life,” said NHPCO President & CEO Edo Banach during a Facebook Live interview with Diversity Advisory Council Chair Nicole McCann-Davis.

“We’re dealing with disparities that have been brought to the fore as COVID-19 has had a disparate impact on communities of color, and we’ve seen the unrest across this country really calling for change. We are all in on ways that we can work together to address systemic racism,” Banach continued.  “This includes ways that we can make hospice itself more accessible and more equitable.”

The Position Paper reinforces NHPCO’s commitment to addressing health care disparities by closing with the words of Representative John Lewis, “If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it.”

Download Position Paper: COVID-19 and Supporting Black Communities at the End of Life (PDF).

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