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Report: Inequities Persist in End-of-Life Care for Latinos


Monday, September 26, 2022   

Latinos and other underserved communities face persistent inequities in end-of-life care, according to a new report from Compassion & Choices and the National Hispanic Council on Aging.

The report, which comes out during Hispanic Heritage Month, finds the disparities stem from a lack of financial resources, discrimination, and a dearth of providers from those communities.

Patricia González-Portillo - the senior national Latino Media Director with Compassion & Choices - said Latinos, in particular, sometimes tend to harbor distrust in the medical system, which can be a barrier to care.

"We have a history of not having the information that's culturally sensitive or appropriate," said González-Portillo. "That's why at Compassion & Choices, we have these materials available in a culturally appropriate manner, in their language in Spanish and English."

The report recommends increased training for medical providers on end-of-life care planning, and urges medical and nursing schools and other supportive practitioner programs to make a concerted effort to recruit and retain diverse candidates.

The study also noted inequities for people with disabilities and among those in the African American, LGBTQ+, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Native American communities.

González-Portillo encouraged everyone to have that difficult conversation with doctors and family about advance directives and end-of-life wishes.

"When we are expecting a baby, we prepare for the baby," said González-Portillo. "You know, our death is something that's also going to happen to all of us and we need to prepare for that."

The Hispanic community in America represents 60 million Latinos - or one in five residents. In California, they make up the largest population group, at almost 40%.

Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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