Palliative Care Education in Monterey County from the Perspective of Community Members
Background: There is a growing need for culturally competent palliative care providers to meet the needs of aging and diverse communities. In Monterey County, CA. Latinos make up 59% of the population with an anticipated increase to 61% by 2030 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). As a vulnerable population with a long history of disparate outcomes, meeting the needs of an aging and disadvantaged population will take intentional efforts to create equitable outcomes. According to the California Health Care Foundation, palliative care in Monterey County meets just 54% of inpatient and 64% of community-based of the current need (California Health Care Foundation, 2018).
Aims: With funding provided by the Hospice Giving Foundation, this project was undertaken to examine palliative education and training needs for a rural Latino community to better understand the county’s needs for palliative care education and training from both providers and community perspectives. This poster abstract focuses on a secondary aim to gather information on community members’ experience with palliative care, interests in receiving education, and identify potential areas for improving care and access.
Method: Data was collected through a survey and focus groups. An 18 item survey was developed by the team, available in English or Spanish, and electronically distributed to regional healthcare agencies. The research team facilitated 7 focus groups in English and Spanish with a total of 46 participants. The data from the focus groups was coded and researchers used a thematic analysis to identify themes and trends.
Results: 378 community members responded to the survey: 63% were White, 15% were Black, and 52% were Latino. Nearly 80% of respondents (75.7%) reported having a family member diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness and of those 25% report having been informed of palliative care services by a family member. Themes that emerged from the focus groups findings included the following: a) under-utilization of palliative care services by Latino consumers; b) the need for linguistically and culturally competent care; c) the importance of training providers across disciplines; d) a strong desire for more community-based educational offerings about palliative care and navigating complex health care challenges.
Conclusions: There is a growing need for health care providers with knowledge of Latino language and culture and a desire for more effective communication from health care providers and effective translation services when necessary. A large number of the people that the team interacted with over the course of data collection were unfamiliar with palliative care, despite navigating complex health care or medical challenges themselves. Finding from this study will be used to guide the development of future palliative education and training in Monterey County.
Author: Alisha Mann, RN, MPH, CSU Monterey Bay