Awareness of Palliative Care, Hospice Care, and Advance Directives in a Racially and Ethnically Diverse Sample of California Adults.


Bazargan M(1)(2)(3)(4), Cobb S(5), Assari S(1)(2), Kibe LW(3).
Author information:
(1)Department of Family Medicine, 5140Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science
(CDU), Los Angeles, CA, USA.
(2)Department of Public Health, 5140Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
(3)Physician Assistant Program, 5140Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles CA, USA.
(4)Department of Family Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
(5)School of Nursing, 5140Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have documented multilevel racial inequalities in health care utilization, medical treatment, and quality of care in minority populations in the United States. Palliative care for people with serious illness and hospice services for people approaching the end of life are no exception. It is also well established that Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks are more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to have less knowledge about advance care planning and directives, hospice, and palliative care. Both qualitative and quantitative research has identified lack of awareness of palliative and hospice services as one of the major factors contributing to the underuse of these services by minority populations. However, an insufficient number of racial/ethnic comparative studies have been conducted to examine associations among various independent factors in relation to awareness of end-of-life, palliative care and advance care planning and directives. AIMS: The main objective of this analysis was to examine correlates of awareness of palliative, hospice care and advance directives in a racially and ethnically diverse large sample of California adults. METHODS: This cross-sectional study includes 2,328 adults: Hispanics (31%); non-Hispanic Blacks (30%); and non-Hispanic Whites (39%) from the Survey of California Adults on Serious Illness and End-of-Life 2019. Using multivariate analysis, we adjusted for demographic and socio-economic variables while estimating the potential independent impact of health status, lack of primary care providers, and recent experiences of participants with a family member with serious illnesses. RESULTS: Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black participants are far less likely to report that they have heard about palliative and hospice care and advance directives than their non-Hispanic White counterparts. In this study, 75%, 74%, and 49% of Hispanics, non-Hispanic Blacks, and non-Hispanic White participants, respectively, claimed that they have never heard about palliative care. Multivariate analysis of data show gender, age, education, and income all significantly were associated with awareness. Furthermore, being engaged with decision making for a loved one with serious illnesses and having a primary care provider were associated with awareness of palliative care and advance directives. DISCUSSION: Our findings reveal that lack of awareness of hospice and palliative care and advance directives among California adults is largely influenced by race and ethnicity. In addition, demographic and socio-economic variables, health status, access to primary care providers, and having informal care giving experience were all independently associated with awareness of advance directives and palliative and hospice care. These effects are complex, which may be attributed to various historical, social, and cultural mechanisms at the individual, community, and organizational levels. A large number of factors should be addressed in order to increase knowledge and awareness of end-of-life and palliative care as well as completion of advance directives and planning. The results of this study may guide the design of multi-level community and theoretically-based awareness and training models that enhance awareness of palliative care, hospice care, and advance directives among minority populations.