Background Glasgow's population consists of a significant number of people of South Asian origin for whom many barriers exist to accessing services. Traditional hospice services have not always been seen as acceptable to this population. In order to improve access to palliative care services, a strategic and collaborative approach within Glasgow's minority ethnic communities was required.
Methods A steering group was established, with representation from the multidisciplinary team, local ethnic communities and community healthcare partnerships. Awareness raising events were delivered across community groups, places of worship, cultural events, festivals, and local media. A nurse led drop-in service was implemented in a Sikh Gurdwara, Hindu Mandir, Islamic Mosque and an independent community centre. The drop-in service offered confidential consultation on issues relating to illness, treatments, referrals and support to both patients and families. Participant feedback was obtained. Ethnicity data was collected and analysed on new referrals to hospice services.
Results Public engagement events within each of the identified religious communities attracted an audience of approximately 200 at each event.
Volunteers from the minority ethnic population were recruited to support the promotion of the project in their local areas.
Local minority ethnic community elders participated in the development of a translated information booklet.
A small increase in referral rates from ethnic minority communities has been noted.
The nurse led drop-in service has been well received with an average of four consultations per session.
Conclusions Relationships with minority ethnic communities were strengthened raising awareness of palliative care services. Potential misconceptions and barriers were addressed.
Educational initiatives have provided an understanding of cultural needs in order to provide culturally competent services.
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