Patient-doctor ethnic differences thwart conversations on end-of-life care, study finds

April 22, 2015 6:14 PM

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Patient-doctor ethnic differences thwart conversations on end-of-life care, study finds

The researchers categorized the barriers encountered by doctors according to subject and identified the top six. Starting with the most severe, these categories were 1) language and medical interpretation issues; 2) patient’s and/or family’s spiritual beliefs about death and dying; 3) doctor’s ignorance of patient’s cultural beliefs, values and practices; 4) patient’s and/or family’s cultural differences in handling the truth and making decisions; 5) patient’s and/or family’s limited health literacy; and 6) patient’s and/or family’s mistrust of doctors and the health-care system.

All of these barriers are more likely to affect patients who are ethnic minorities who speak a different language than the doctor, Periyakoil noted, further exacerbating the health disparities they encounter.

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