Commitment to Cultural Diversity
At Hospice of Cincinnati, we believe that every individual – regardless of background, physical characteristics or personal beliefs – should have access to quality, patient-centered health care when facing a serious illness. Hospice of Cincinnati also believes that a better understanding of patient cultures ensures higher quality, more personalized care. Cultural proficiency equips our caregivers to better understand patient and family preferences.
Our commitment to serving diverse populations is demonstrated by our community presence in areas of Greater Cincinnati and Hamilton that have historically been underserved by hospice/health care organizations. This continued commitment is part of who we are and what we stand for as compassionate, knowledgeable care givers and professionals.
At Hospice of Cincinnati, we believe that diversity encompasses much more than race and gender. It is a variety of characteristics, visible or not, that distinguish one individual from another. These characteristics include, but are not limited to, age, culture, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, race and physical ability.
You can read more about our commitment to cultural diversity
Why African-American Seniors Are Less Likely to Use Hospice
Black seniors are more likely than whites and Latinos to forgo hospice care. Due to deeply felt religious beliefs and a long history of discrimination in the U.S., African-American patients are often reluctant to plan for the end of their lives, and more skeptical when doctors suggest stopping treatment. Special correspondent Sarah Varney reports on efforts to change some of those beliefs.
Click here to watch the PBS News Hour video >
Sensitivity is Part of Hospice of Cincinnati Culture, Core Values
It was very important to Ashwin and Kalpana Parekh that Kalpana’s mother, Jayshree, was cared for according to the rules of their Jain religion. "We felt that the Hospice of Cincinnati staff was very supportive of our needs," Ashwin says. Respect, sensitivity and inclusion are key Hospice of Cincinnati core values and are at the heart of the physical, emotional and spiritual care every Hospice of Cincinnati patient receives.
A resident of Tri-County Extended Care, Jayshree was referred to Hospice of Cincinnati when her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worsened. Diane Kuemmerling, RN, Jayshree’s nurse case manager, remembers the family’s hesitancy to admit her to a hospice program. "The mother is a highly honored person in the Indian family, and they were very anxious about making sure she was getting the best care possible," she says.
Their hesitancy evaporated once Kuemmerling began managing Jayshree’s care. "She was so caring and monitored her so carefully," Kalpana says gratefully. Diane called her daily with updates about her mother.
"I just adored Jayshree," Kuemmerling says fondly. "She was the sweetest lady. I would stop in and see her every day to make sure she was comfortable and to help alleviate some of Kalpana’s anxiety. She was just a delight."
"The staff kept my mother very clean," Kalpana remarks. "That was very important to us." Becoming dirty or soiled is very disgraceful in her culture, so Hospice of Cincinnati aides took special care to ensure Jayshree was always clean.
"We emphasize the importance of culturally proficient care from the day an employee starts with Hospice of Cincinnati," explains James Cowan, Manager of Diversity and Communications. "It’s an important part of our staff’s new hire orientation. Additionally, we continue to reinforce culturally-sensitive care in internal publications with ongoing tips related to providing care for a variety of faiths and cultures."
It also was important to the family to all be with their mother when she died. "Because of Hospice of Cincinnati's expertise, Diane was able to let us know when we needed to call the family in," Kalpana remembers. "My brother came in from Montreal and my sister from New Jersey, so we were all with her when she took her last breath."
While the family appreciated all the support Hospice of Cincinnati staff provided, it was important that their own Indian priest attend to Kalpana’s mother at the end. "He gave her sacred water from the river Ganges in India, sang prayers and made sure she was at peace," Kalpana says. Kuemmerling says the staff worked with the family to provide care while allowing them to bring in the support they wanted. "We tried to care for her while being respectful."
Kalpana remembers, "Once my entire family was here, we
were able to stay with my mother and
say prayers for her. We held her hands, her legs, her head…anything to be close to her. That is how she wanted to die."
The family is very appreciative of the experience. "The Hospice of Cincinnati staff was so caring and respectful of our Indian culture," Kalpana says gratefully. "They made my mother so comfortable and peaceful in her final journey."