J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2020 Oct 19. doi: 10.1007/s40615-020-00873-w. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Although some research has been done on end-of-life (EOL) preferences and wishes, our knowledge of racial differences in the EOL wishes of non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black middle-aged and older adults is limited. Previous studies exploring such racial differences have focused mainly on EOL decision-making as reflected in advance healthcare directives concerning life-sustaining medical treatment. In need of examination are aspects of EOL care that are not decision-based and therefore not normally covered by written advance healthcare directives. This study focuses on racial differences in non-decision-based aspects of EOL care, that is, EOL care that incorporates patients’ beliefs, culture, or religion.
AIM: To test the combined effects of race, socioeconomic status, health status, spirituality, perceived discrimination and medical mistrust on the EOL non-decision-based desires and wishes of a representative sample of non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black older California adults.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study used data from the Survey of California Adults on Serious Illness and End-of-Life 2019. To perform data analysis, we used multiple logistic regression models.
RESULTS: Non-Hispanic Blacks reported more EOL non-decision-based desires and wishes than non-Hispanic Whites. In addition to gender, age, and education other determinants of EOL non-decision-based medical desires and wishes included perceived and objective health status, spirituality, and medical trust. Poverty level, perceived discrimination did not correlate with EOL medical wishes.
CONCLUSION: Non-Hispanic Blacks desired a closer relationship with their providers as well as a higher level of respect for their cultural beliefs and values from their providers compared with their White counterparts. Awareness, understanding, and respecting the cultural beliefs and values of older non-Hispanic Black patients, that usually are seen by non-Hispanic Black providers, is the first step for meaningful relationship between non-Hispanic Black patients and their providers that directly improve the end-of-life quality of life for this segment of our population.