Knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about end-of-life care among inner-city African Americans and Latinos

J Palliat Med. 2004 Apr;7(2):247-56. doi: 10.1089/109662104773709369.


Objective: This project explored end-of-life care preferences and barriers among low-income, urban African Americans and Latino/Hispanic Americans (Latinos) to uncover factors that may influence hospice utilization.

Methods: Focus groups were conducted separately for African Americans (4 groups, n = 26) and Latinos (4 groups, n = 27). Transcripts were coded and analyzed using consensus and triangulation to identify primary themes.

Results: Four preference themes and four barriers were identified. Results were largely similar across the two groups. Both preferred having families provide care for loved ones but expressed desire to reduce caretaker burden. Groups emphasized spirituality as the primary means of coping and valued the holistic well-being of the patient and family. Barriers reported were closely tied to access to care. Participants reported low hospice utilization because of lack of awareness of hospice and the prohibitive cost of health care. Latinos were more likely to report language barriers, while African Americans were more likely to report mistrust of the system.

Conclusions: African Americans and Latinos in this study were highly receptive to end-of-life care that would provide relief for patients and caregivers and emphasize spirituality and family consensus. Improving awareness of hospice services would likely increase utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Awareness
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Hospices / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poverty / ethnology
  • Spirituality
  • Terminal Care / methods
  • Terminal Care / psychology*
  • United States
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*