The California State University Institute for Palliative Care has created an online course to promote the ability of healthcare professionals to provide culturally competent palliative care for Latino patients. Research indicates significant issues in the provision of palliative care for Latinos.

With 17% of America’s population comprised of individuals of Hispanic/Latino descent, understanding the differing cultural perspectives between the health care professional and the minority patient may well become a growing challenge among major health care organizations.

The online course Culturally Competent Palliative Care for Latinos is designed to teach physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and anyone working with the Latino community how to appropriately support the “whole” person as well as their family and friends. It teaches health care professionals how to connect with Latino/Hispanic patients with serious or chronic illness in a way that recognizes and values their background, language and cultural traditions. The result is a better relationship between patient and provider as well as greater treatment compliance and a higher likelihood that patients will choose and receive care that enables them to achieve the best possible quality of life, especially in palliative care or hospice settings.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the disparities among minority groups in regards to access to care and the quality of that care is well documented. As a result of these ethnic and racial disparities, minority populations are often diagnosed with late-stage illness and experience inferior outcomes leading to increased suffering.

[Source: California State University Institute for Palliative Care]