Knowledge and Perceptions of Hospice Care of Chinese Older Adults

Authors


Address correspondence to Susan Enguidanos, Hanson Family Trust Assistant Professor of Gerontology, University of Southern California, Davis School of Gerontology, 3715 McClintock Ave, Gero 228-B, Los Angeles, CA 90089. E-mail: Enguidan@usc.edu

Abstract

Despite dramatic increases in hospice enrollment, ethnic disparities persist. With rapidly growing populations of Asian Americans, research is needed to elucidate factors that contribute to hospice underenrollment in subgroups of Asian populations. The purpose of this study was to explore older Chinese Americans' knowledge, understanding, and perceptions of hospice care. Three focus groups were conducted, one each in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, all recruited from a Chinese social service agency. Focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed and then coded for themes. Thirty-four Chinese Americans participated in the groups, all but one reporting primary language other than English. Themes included lack of knowledge, death timing, burden (financial, emotional, physical toward family or government), peaceful death (relief of suffering), and quality of care (and its influence on perception of best care location). Findings indicate the need for hospice education and outreach to Chinese Americans. Additionally, to address concerns about burden and death in the home, efforts to improve access to hospice facilities are needed. Findings from this study provide direction for healthcare providers to address potential barriers to increasing access to hospice of Chinese Americans.

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