Vital Aging Network

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VAN Forum

Latino Elders and Hospice Care
Composing a New Elder Care Landscape

August 12, 2008
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Jesse Bethke Gomez, President of CLUES and Barbara Greene, Multicultural Consultant for Hospice Minnesota

CLUES Dakotah Facility
882 Robert Street South
South St. Paul, Minnesota [map]

helpinghands_200What is Minnesota learning about caring for Latino elders? What are the urgent needs of Minnesota's older Latino population? What does culturally sensitive end-of-life care look like for Minnesota's Latino elders and families?

Minnesota is creating a new elder care landscape—where care for Latinos is changing in unique and creative ways. This session will draw on the recent experiences of CLUES and Hospice Minnesota, two statewide organizations that have formed a new partnership in caring for Latino elders. We are pleased to host this gathering of community members and health and human service professionals at CLUES' new elders center—The Dakotah in South Saint Paul.

Jesse Bethke Gomez, President of CLUES and Barbara Greene, Multicultural Consultant for Hospice Minnesota, will share their experiences and lessons in serving Latino elders facing culturally specific aging and end-of-life care challenges.

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Jesse Bethke Gomez, President of CLUES, and Barbara Greene, multicultural consultant for Hospice Minnesota, shared the experiences and lessons they learned from serving Latino elders facing culturally specific aging and end-of-life care challenges.

Bethke Gomez traced the history of the Minnesota Latino population back to 1869. He then stated that by 2030 the Latino population will triple in size, making culturally competent care even more imperative. Bethke Gomez encouraged the audience to view the Latino family as the patient. He emphasized that family in Latino culture, includes the extended family. Bethke Gomez highlighted the importance of using a “Family Centric” coordinated Care delivery model when working with a Latino population. In Latino culture, “Family Centric” care is directly related to the high value Latinos place on the family, the fact that 90% of values and thinking at the subconscious level are formed by age 7, honoring Latino family values, incorporating an intergenerational and multi-generational component, and promoting prevention and long-term change. Coordinated care leverages community support for the family, includes cultural competency, language sensitivity, health literacy, and redefines a community focus among other things. Utilizing a family centric and coordinated care model when working with Latino elders will enhance the experience of the Latino client (the patient, the family, and the service provider.)

Barbara Greene discussed how Hospice Minnesota strategically and culturally competently began its work to open doors to multicultural communities. During phase 1, Hospice Minnesota developed culturally-specific hospice provider education and training, expanded multicultural community partnerships and education, and linked underserved populations to hospice direct service providers. Phase 2 included a statewide access survey between 2003-2007, created a hospice list serve, and annual planning sessions with 14 pilot hospice organizations. Phase 3 included improving hospice provider communications where the Hospice Medical Director had dialogues with Latino physicians, and hosted a “Latino End-of-Life Care” hospice and community conference. Phase 4 focused on community engagement. This involved having Latino-centric hospice presentations and trainings with the Hispanic Health Network and state Community Health Workers, creating Latino end-of-life care packets to community organizations, developing a new provider sources called Latino Patient End-of-Life-Care,” working with a Latino chaplain project, and a collaboration between the Vital Aging Network community.

Greene specifically spoke about the language struggle between English and Spanish for the word hospice. In Spanish, hospicio can mean orphanage for unwanted children in South America, so many Latino persons associate hospice with that. It was also discovered that there is relatively little understanding that Hospice supports caregiver and families, as well as the patient. Education surrounding these issues is needed.

Phase 5 involved the creation of New Latino Resources in Spanish. Phase 6 is about building collaborative relationships with organizations such as CLUES, the Hispanic Health Network, HealthEast, Salud Integral, Minnesota Community Health Workers Network, Communities of faith, Latino chaplain project, and Latino physicians and other health providers. It is anticipated that Phase 7 will begin in 2009 with the intent to keep cultivating and strengthening existing relationship as well as develop new relationships with Latino service providers.

Hospice care in the Latino culture is family centric and service providers need develop a culturally competent practice that includes the family.

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