Background National guidance advocates that patients living with life limiting illnesses have access to individualised palliative care (General Medical Council, 2010). Evidence suggests that Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups are less likely than White patients to access palliative services (Markham, Islam & Faull, 2014; Tackling Inequalities in End of Life Care for Minority Groups VCSE Health and Wellbeing Alliance Project Group, 2018). Negative consequences of this include patients experiencing symptoms and being denied the opportunity to consider advance care planning.
Aims The aim of this service evaluation was to establish the extent to which the documented ethnicity of patients referred to our hospice inpatient (IPU) and day therapies units (DTU) compare to the ethnic diversity of our local community (taken from the 2011 electoral ward census data).
Methods Documented ethnicity data of all patients admitted to the IPU or accepted onto the DTU caseload between November 2017 and December 2018 were retrospectively collected from SystmOne. Census data (2011) for the hospice electoral ward were obtained from the Office for National Statistics.
Results The populations of our IPU and DTU were not representative of the ethnic make-up of our locality during the study period. 47% of our local community identify as ethnicities other than White. In contrast, 90% of IPU admissions were White (2% Asian/Asian British, 1% Black/African/Caribbean/Black British and 7% not recorded). Similarly, 91% of people attending our DTU were White (2% Asian/Asian British and 7% not recorded).
Conclusion The documented ethnicity of our service users does not reflect the ethnic diversity of our local populace. It is impossible to conclude from this project why ethnicities other than White are underrepresented. Potential barriers need to be investigated but might include a lack of awareness of the services we provide.
Since these data were collected, hospice staff have met with local religious leaders to demystify palliative care and establish if hospice services need to adapt to better serve our community.
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