Palliative and end of life care for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the UK

Palliative and end of life care for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the UKThis report published by Marie Curie Cancer Care highlights that the end of life care needs of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are varied, growing, and despite examples of good practice, overall not adequately met.

The report provides an evidence base to understand the profile of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic populations living in the UK and identifies their unmet needs regarding palliative and end-of-life care.

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In England and Wales it is predicted that by 2026 there will be over 1.3 million people from BAME groups aged 65 and over, compared to just over half a million in 2001. By 2026 almost half a million will be aged 70 and over.

The systematic review found that lack of knowledge about services, misunderstandings and mistrust (due to previous experiences of discrimination), and a lack of cultural sensitivity on the part of service providers are identified as some of the reasons for low uptake of end of life care by BAME communities. The report authors say these issues can in part be addressed by improving communication with the patient and their family.

The report recommends that service providers and commissioners recognise the growing need for improved end of life care for BAME communities and that they learn from examples of best practice, some of which are highlighted in the report.

While the report acknowledges that better training is needed for health and social care professionals to enable them to provide appropriate care to BAME groups, it also notes the importance of avoiding assumptions and stereotypes and listening to patients and their families about their needs and preferences at the end of life.