Palliative Care Education in Monterey County from the Perspective of Healthcare Professionals
Background: As more people with serious illness are managed in primary care settings, the need for providers’ foundational knowledge in palliative care increases. Additionally, 59.4% of the Monterey County population and 78.7% of residents of its county seat in Salinas, identify as Latino (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020), which supports an urgent need for providers who are also culturally and linguistically competent. More so, COVID-19 has disproportionately and unfairly affected Monterey County’s agricultural workers, who are largely Latino (Villarejo, 2020) and further illuminated a critical opportunity to expand and strengthen palliative care training and education for healthcare providers.
Aims: With funding provided by the Hospice Giving Foundation, the primary aim of this project was to examine palliative education and training needs for a largely rural Latino community in Monterey County to better understand the needs from both providers and community perspectives. This poster abstract reports on the secondary aim to assess healthcare providers’ interest in and needs for palliative care education.
Method: Data was collected through an 28-item survey developed by the team and pre-tested with 11 providers for clinical sensibility. The survey was electronically distributed to regional healthcare agencies, remaining open for 4 weeks.
Results: 87 healthcare providers responded to the survey. The majority of the respondents were Registered Nurses (44.4%) or Medical Doctors (30.9%). 76.3% were White and 25% Latino, with 8.4% fluent in Spanish. Most practiced in the hospital (45.1%) and in Salinas (47.6%). Over half (61.45%) had previously participated in education or training related to palliative care and 87.95% were interested in participating palliative care education or training. The frequently selected palliative care topics to include in training were communication strategies, pain/symptoms management, cultural humility and advance care planning. Providers indicated a strong interest in short, inexpensive training options that allowed them to increase their palliative care skill set.
Conclusions: Because most providers in the survey were interested in palliative care education or training, the next step is developing and piloting a sustainable, affordable and engaging inter-professional educational model in Monterey County. The project team is consulting with the CSU Shiley Institute for Palliative Care for strategies to educate community members and providers together and both improve access to palliative care and culturally and linguistically competent care. As we live within the new normal of communities wracked by COVID-19, it becomes even more imperative to instill palliative care fundamentals broadly among our healthcare workforce to equitably serve our diverse population.
Author: Alisha Mann, RN, MPH, CSU Monterey Bay