Background Research has shown that people from Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities may access hospice palliative care services less often than other groups. Preventing factors could be lack of understanding of hospice services; accessibility; potentially the belief that the service is not appropriate for their cultural needs. BAME communities experience greater stigma attached to palliative and life-limiting conditions. Some hospices with large diverse demographic populations have responded by employing Cultural Link Workers (CLWs). A group of CLWs from three hospices (one adult, two children) in partnership with NHS have met in the Midlands since 2012.
Aims CLWs in the Midlands aim to:
Raise awareness of hospice services within BAME communities;
Identify gaps and actively support families from BAME communities to access culturally appropriate services;
Promote understanding of BAME communities and varying cultural needs within the hospice; provide education and resources to health care professionals (HCPs).
Method CLWs have been assessing the impact of their roles by:
Sharing information and good practice about their individual roles in their respective workplaces;
Engaging with faith and BAME communities by attending and giving talks at community events, places of worship and holding information events at the hospices;
Offering cultural and language support to patients and families.
Increase in patients/families accessing palliative care services and empowering them to make informed choices;
Reducing stigma and myths around palliative and end of life care;
Hospices being more aware of the need for diversity in their workplace.
Conclusion Communities and demographics in local populations are always changing and CLWs in palliative care settings continue to respond to these. Working together with other professionals to engage and make links within education, business, health and social care. The work of CLWs is essential and challenging. It enables HCPs to have confidence in delivering a patient-centred service.
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