Disparities, Diversity, and Palliative Care

Larry Beresford

We would like to think that hospice and palliative medicine are extremely patient-centered and individualized to the holistic needs and beliefs of each patient and family. But there can be widely differing perspectives across cultural groups about what individuals need in order to feel that their individuality was honored and what will be experienced as supportive and respectful care under the highly stressful circumstances of serious, advanced, or life-threatening illness.

Can the field of hospice and palliative medicine be more inclusive and more respectful of cultural and other differences than it already is? You can read more about the Academy’s efforts to advance these issues in the latest issue of the AAHPM Quarterly. AAHPM has empaneled a Diversity Advisory Group, which convened a “World Cafe” at the most recent AAHPM & HPNA Annual Assembly for attendees to discuss and prioritize these issues. The Academy has also developed an LGBT Special Interest Group.

What do you think? You can share your perspectives and suggestions on these vitally important issues below.

1 thought on “Disparities, Diversity, and Palliative Care

  1. This is a very important issue, especially as our society becomes more diverse. Glad that AAHPM is bringing diversity into sharper focus. In the end, we are probably more alike than different, but the communication process needs to be there, and health care professionals need training in this area. A Buddhist proverb says it well:
    “Everybody is like somebody,
    Everybody is like nobody,
    Everybody is like everybody.”

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