Cultural implications of palliative care
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BACKGROUND: The population of South Asian Americans is a growing ethnic group in the US and, despite levels of higher education and income, are more likely to suffer from chronic disease. As a result, there is a need for longer term care as, ultimately, the complications from such diseases can lead to an increase in the need for palliative care medicine. In general, however, South Asian Americans do not readily seek out palliative care services as much as white Americans. Whether it is due to a lack of adequate education on the topic or a general avoidance of sensitive conversations with their providers, South Asian Americans have a barrier to this care which could be beneficial to them. It is known that ethnic and racial concordance amongst the patient and the provider has been linked to better communication and patient satisfaction, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. However, most of these studies have been performed with Black, White, and Hispanic populations in the outpatient setting. There exist many gaps in the knowledge regarding the topic of cultural implications of palliative care. This paper aims to address one such gap, specifically the importance of ethnic concordance amongst South Asian American patients and their providers in an inpatient palliative care setting. PROPOSED STUDY DESIGN: This study will investigate two groups of patients: South Asian American patients in palliative care settings with culturally concordant providers and those without. Following 10 days of patient-provider encounters, the patient will be asked to complete a validated survey tool used to assess patient satisfaction in the inpatient setting. Data from the two groups will be described using means and standard deviation and compared using a t-test to assess for statistical significance. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE AND CONCLUSION: Ultimately, this study with allow providers the opportunity to better to understand the importance of cultural concordance among South Asian Americans, specifically in the palliative care setting. Palliative care is an aspect of medicine where interactions and communication must be treated with utmost respect and sensitivity, making cultural competency and understanding a huge part of its success. The information obtained from this study will be clinically significant in that it will help providers decide whether or not cultural concordance should be utilized to foster better patient satisfaction with their care and ultimately better outcomes.