Introduction It is evident that people from minority ethnic groups are under-represented amongst palliative care service users, despite a national (UK) strategy promoting high quality palliative care for all adults at the end of life. Audit data showed the percentage of people from minority ethnic groups accessing the hospice was only 1.46%, versus a national average of 7% accessing specialist palliative care services. This was particularly concerning given the ethnically diverse population in one of the CCG areas served by the hospice.
Aim To increase the use of hospice services by people from ethnic minority groups.
Methods A cross organisational working group was established, chaired by a clinical director, with representatives from the medical, nursing, pastoral care, therapies and fundraising teams. During sequential workshops between May and September 2014, the group devised and implemented a multi-pronged action plan to improve the ethnic diversity of patients and carers accessing hospice services.
Engagement of community faith leaders as hospice ambassadors: introduced leaders to newly built spiritual area (“The Sanctuary”); offered to host meetings of the local clergy at the hospice; faith leaders participated in spirituality education sessions for hospice staff; modelled synergistic working relationships between hospice pastoral care team and external faith leaders
Engagement of primary care clinicians in under-represented geographical area: increased hospice consultant presence at primary care end-of-life register meetings, promotion of palliative care services at primary care academic half day
Review of hospice marketing literature and physical environment
Results Improvement in the percentage of people from minority ethnic groups using hospice services, from 1.46% in May 2014 to 10.84% by September 2014.
Conclusion With a cross organisational approach, it is possible to improve the ethnic diversity of hospice service users. This however requires ongoing monitoring through audit, and assessment of patient and carer satisfaction.
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