End of life care: how to tackle inequalities and improve access

Advice for nurses on eliminating the inequity people from black or minority ethnic backgrounds experience in accessing end of life care

Picture: iStock

Everyone deserves care that meets their needs at the end of their lives, and there is only have one chance to get it right.

But charity Marie Curie says for many people from diverse communities this is often not the case.

In this episode of the Nursing Standard podcast, journalist Erin Dean talks to the charity’s research and clinical nurse Rekha Vijayshankar and senior policy and research manager for equity and equality Rini Jones. They discuss the complex inequities in end of life care that mean patients experience poor access to care, or the quality of care is poor.

Nurses’ soft skills, unconscious bias and how to improve quality of end of life care

Institutional racism, deprivation, poor health literacy, language barriers and confusing communication from healthcare staff all contribute to these inequalities.

Ms Vijayshankar talks about the need for nurses to use their soft skills to give holistic patient-centred care.

This episode concludes with three ways nurses, whatever their setting, can improve end of life care:

  • Maintain a sense of cultural humility
  • Provide holistic care to the patient and their caregivers
  • Ensure communication and care with a patient and their family is not influenced by unconscious bias

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