Targeted Programs Can Help Asians Make End-of-Life Care Decisions
Many older Asians in California and other states are averse to using hospice or palliative care, but targeted programs can help such individuals draft end-of-life plans for health care, Korea Daily/New America Media reports.
According to Korea Daily/New America Media, Asian patients rarely use hospice or palliative care, even though their average life expectancy in California is 86.1 years, compared with 73.3 years for blacks, 79.3 years for whites and 83.1 years for Hispanics.
For instance, just 2% of Asian individuals in the U.S. use hospice care, compared with 82.8% of whites, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation. CHCF publishes California Healthline.
Details of Hospice, Palliative Care Among Koreans
The number of Korean individuals who use hospice services is gradually increasing, according to Korea Daily/New America Media.
In Los Angeles, the Somang (Hope) Society's "well-dying" campaign aims to inform older Korean individuals on how to prepare for death.
Boonja Yoo, president of the not-for-profit group and a former nurse, said the campaign helps Korean seniors draft living wills, which can include:
- Advanced health care directives in cases of comas, dementia or other issues that prevent them from voicing their wishes;
- Legacy statements about lessons and values learned throughout their lives; and
- Organ donation preferences.
So far, the program has helped about 9,300 individuals develop living wills. Of those, 750 indicated that they wanted to donate their organs when they die.
However, Yoo noted that Koreans often are deterred from end-of-life planning by a "taboo culture of death" (Chang, Korea Daily/New America Media, 3/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.