Purpose: Lack of appreciation of cultural differences may compromise care for seriously ill minority patients, yet culturally appropriate models of palliative care (PC) are not currently available in the United States. Rural patients with life-limiting illness are at high risk of not receiving PC. Developing a PC model that considers the cultural preferences of rural African Americans (AAs) and White (W) citizens is crucial. The goal of this study was to develop and determine the feasibility of implementing a culturally based PC tele-consult program for rural Southern AA and W elders with serious illness and their families, and assess its acceptability to patients, their family members, and clinicians.
Methods: This was a three-phase study conducted in rural Beaufort, South Carolina, from January 2013 to February 2016. We used Community-Based Participatory Research methods, including a Community Advisory Group (CAG) with equal numbers of AA and W members, to guide the study. Phase 1: Cultural values and preferences were determined through ethnic-based focus groups comprising family members (15 W and 16 AA) who had cared for a loved one who died within the past year. We conducted a thematic analysis of focus group transcripts, focused on cultural values and preferences, which was used as the basis for the study protocol. Phase 2: Protocol Development: We created a protocol team of eight CAG members, two researchers, two hospital staff members, and a PC physician. The PC physician explained the standard clinical guidelines for conducting PC consults, and CAG members proposed culturally appropriate programmatic recommendations for their ethnic group for each theme. All recommendations were incorporated into an ethnic-group specific protocol. Phase 3: The culturally based PC protocol was implemented by the PC physician via telehealth in the local hospital. We enrolled patients age =65 with a life-limiting illness who had a family caregiver referred by a hospitalist to receive the PC consult. To assess feasibility of program delivery, including its acceptability to patients, caregivers, and hospital staff, using Donebedian's Structure-Process-Outcome model, we measured patient/caregiver satisfaction with the culturally based consult by using an adaptation of FAMCARE-2.
Results: Phase 1: Themes between W and AA were (1) equivalent: for example, disrespectful treatment of patients and family by hospital physicians; (2) similar but with variation: for example, although religion and church were important to both groups, and pastors in both ethnic groups helped family face the reality of end of life, AA considered the church unreservedly central to every aspect of life; (3) divergent, for example, AAs strongly believed that hope and miracles were always a possibility and that God was the decider, a theme not present in the W group. Phase 2: We incorporated ethnic group-specific recommendations for the culturally based PC consult into the standard PC consult. Phase 3: We tested feasibility and acceptability of the ethnically specific PC consult on 18 of 32 eligible patients. The telehealth system worked well. PC MD implementation fidelity was 98%. Most patients were non-verbal and could not rate satisfaction with consult; however, caregivers were satisfied or very satisfied. Hospital leadership supported program implementation, but hospitalists only referred 18 out of 28 eligible patients.
Conclusions: The first culturally based PC consult program in the United States was developed in partnership with AA and W Southern rural community members. This program was feasible to implement in a small rural hospital but low referral by hospitalists was the major obstacle. Program effectiveness is currently being tested in a randomized clinical trial in three southern, rural states in partnership with hospitalists. This method can serve as a model that can be replicated and adapted to other settings and with other ethnic groups.
Mounting evidence supports oncology organizations' recommendations of early palliative care as a cancer care best practice for patients with advanced cancer and/or high symptom burden. However, few trials on which these best practices are based have included rural and remote community-based oncology care. Therefore, little is known about whether early palliative care models are applicable in these low-resource areas. This literature synthesis identifies some of the challenges of integrating palliative care in rural and remote cancer care. Prominent themes include being mindful of rural culture; adapting traditional geographically based specialty care delivery models to under-resourced rural practices; and using novel palliative care education delivery methods to increase community-based health professional, layperson, and family palliative expertise to account for limited local specialty palliative care resources. Although there are many limitations, many rural and remote communities also have strengths in their capacity to provide high-quality care by capitalizing on close-knit, committed community practitioners, especially if there are receptive local palliative and hospice care champions. Hence, adapting palliative care models, using culturally appropriate novel delivery methods, and providing remote education and support to existing community providers are promising advances to aid rural people to manage serious illness and to die in place. Reformulating health policy and nurturing academic-community partnerships that support best practices are critical components of providing early palliative care for everyone everywhere.
Advance care planning (ACP) improves end-of-life care for patients and their caregivers. However, only one-third of adults have participated in ACP and rates are substantially lower among African Americans than among whites. Importantly, ACP improves many domains of care where there are racial disparities in outcomes, including receipt of goal-concordant care, hospice use, and provider communication. Yet, few studies have examined the effectiveness of ACP interventions among African Americans. The objectives of reducing disparities in the quality of palliative care for older African Americans through improved advance care planning (EQUAL ACP) are as follows: to compare the effectiveness of two interventions in (1) increasing ACP among African Americans and whites and (2) reducing racial disparities in both ACP and end-of-life care; and to examine whether racial concordance of the interventionist and patient is associated with ACP. EQUAL ACP is a longitudinal, multisite, cluster randomized trial and a qualitative study describing the ACP experience of participants. The study will include 800 adults =65 years of age (half African American and half white) from 10 primary care clinics in the South. Eligible patients have a serious illness (advanced cancer, heart failure, lung disease, etc.), disability in activities of daily living, or recent hospitalization. Patients are followed for one year and participate in either a patient-guided, self-management ACP approach, including a Five Wishes form or structured ACP with Respecting Choices First Steps. The primary outcome is formal or informal ACP—completion of advance directives, documented discussions with clinicians, and other written or verbal communication with surrogate decision makers about care preferences. Secondary outcomes assessed through after-death interviews with surrogates of patients who die during the study include receipt of goal-concordant care, health services use in the last year of life, and satisfaction with care. EQUAL ACP is the first large study to assess which strategies are most effective at both increasing rates of ACP and promoting equitable palliative care outcomes for seriously ill African Americans.
OBJECTIVES: To identify patterns of access to and use or provision of palliative care services in medically underserved and vulnerable groups diagnosed with cancer.
DATA SOURCES: Google Scholar, PubMed, MEDLINE, and Web of Science were searched to identify peer-reviewed studies that described palliative care in medically underserved or vulnerable populations diagnosed with cancer.
CONCLUSION: Disparities in both access and referral to palliative care are evident in many underserved groups. There is evidence that some groups received poorer quality of such care.
IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING PRACTICE: Achieving health equity in access to and receipt of quality palliative care requires prioritization of this area in clinical practice and in research funding.
Palliative care is gaining acceptance across the world. However, even when palliative care resources exist, both the delivery and distribution of services too often is neither equitably nor acceptably provided to diverse population groups. The goal of this paper is to illustrate tensions in the delivery of palliative care for diverse patient populations in order to help clinicians to improve care for all. We begin by defining and differentiating between culture, race, and ethnicity, so that these terms-often used interchangeably-are not conflated and are more effectively used in caring for diverse populations. We then present examples from an integrative literature review of recent research on culture and palliative care to illustrate both how and why varied responses to pain and suffering occur in different patterns, focusing on four areas of palliative care: the formation of care preferences, communication patterns, different meanings of suffering, and decision-making processes about care. For each area, we provide international and multi-ethnic examples of variations that emphasize the need for personalization of care and the avoidance of stereotyping beliefs and practices without considering individual circumstances and life histories. We conclude with recommendations for improving palliative care research and practice with cultural perspectives, emphasizing the need to work in partnerships with patients, their family members, and communities to identify and negotiate culturally meaningful care, promote quality of life, and ensure the highest quality palliative care for all, both domestically and internationally.
Based on the demonstrated effectiveness of palliative care in the alleviation of symptoms and enhancement of life quality, it is important to incorporate palliative care early in the respiratory disease trajectory. Quality palliative care addresses eight domains that are all patient and family centred. Palliative care interventions in respiratory conditions include management of symptoms such as dyspnoea, cough, haemoptysis, sputum production, fatigue and respiratory secretion management, especially as the end-of-life nears. A practical checklist of activities based on the domains of palliative care can assist clinicians to integrate palliative care into their practice. Clinical management of patients receiving palliative care requires consideration of human factors and related organisational characteristics that involve cultural, educational and motivational aspects of the patient/family and clinicians.
Educational aims: To explain the basic domains of palliative care applicable to chronic respiratory diseases.To review palliative care interventions for patients with chronic respiratory diseases.To outline a checklist for clinicians to use in practice, based on the domains of palliative care.To propose recommendations for clinical management of patients receiving palliative care for chronic respiratory diseases.