Minorities continue to seek aggressive end-of-life treatment options and turn away alternatives like hospice care, research increasingly suggests. Only 7.5 percent of hospice patients are African-American, and only 4.8 percent are Hispanic--less than half of their percentage of the general population. An ongoing Harvard study funded by the National Cancer Institute involving about 800 terminally ill cancer patients is already finding that African Americans are two to three times as likely as whites to want a pull-out-all-the-stops effort at the end of life. Experts attribute the gap, in part, to struggles minorities have faced in getting adequate care throughout their lives. They also note that doctors may not do as good a job as at explaining options like hospice care to minority patients, particularly if English is not their first language.
To find out more about this trend:
- read this piece in The Washington Post