Spreading hospice awareness to underserved populations

Categories: Community Engagement.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and hospice community acknowledge that hospice utilization within African American communities continues to be disproportionately low. Of all patients utilizing hospice care in 2014, an estimated 7.6 percent were identified as black or African American, which reflects a slight drop from the previous year. 

In 2016, NHPCO will partner with Morgan State University to provide education to caregivers so they can make informed decisions about end-of-life care.

The following series of non-credit courses beginning in March will be facilitated discussions led by hospice and palliative care experts:

  • Spirituality and Hope at the End of Life
  • What is Hospice and Palliative Care?
  • How to Plan and Communicate Your Future Healthcare Wishes
  • Loss, Grief and Bereavement

“We will start this important work with Morgan State University, but the overall plan is to equip local hospices around the country with a model for working with HBCUs in their areas to address this disparity of care,” says President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher. “The new partnership with Morgan State University will allow us to reach African American families in new and different ways.”  

During Black History Month, NHPCO is working to raise awareness by sharing helpful resources.  NHPCO’s public awareness campaign “Moments of Life: Made Possible by Hospice,” which features the real stories of patients and families as they experience the benefits of hospice.  The recent additions of campaign videos “Willie’s Family Picnic,” “Hannabelle’s Wonderful Life,” and “Deadra’s Story” showcase hospice and palliative care at its best serving diverse populations.

To support the work of hospice providers, NHPCO’s African American Outreach Guide  is available online, free of charge. The guide outlines key principles and insights to help hospices better serve this diverse community.

“NHPCO’s strategic plan includes expanding hospice and palliative care access to under-served populations including African American, Latino, and other diverse communities,” says NHPCO Senior Vice President of Education, Access, and Philanthropy, Diane Hill Taylor.  “In addition to the Morgan State University partnership, NHPCO is working closely with AARP and Hispanic organizations to move this initiative forward.”

Additionally in 2015, NHPCO created a Diversity Advisory Council – a group of hospice and healthcare professionals and experts who offer guidance and expertise to address the disparity of care in diverse communities.

NHPCO has additional outreach resources available on www.nhpco.org/access.

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