A new study appearing in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine finds that healthcare providers in the US exhibit gaps in cultural awareness with respect to treating South Asian patients for end of life pain. This disconnect results in greater dissatisfaction in this patient population with the care they are receiving. The researchers, from the University of Missouri, write that their findings provide the opportunity for clinicians to refine their delivery of care to South Asian patients and their families, noting the trend to increasing diversity in the US patient population.
The study finds that South Asians living in the US are more reluctant than other ethnic populations to either report pain or to seek medications to treat pain that accompanies end of life. The authors write that providers in these patients’ home countries do not routinely ask patients about pain or use the pain scales that are common in the US. Patients, in turn, are reluctant to disclose pain to avoid being perceived as weak or as inordinately burdening others. The authors suggest that providers engage community resources such as social workers and religious leaders to facilitate better communication with these patients about available medications and other treatment modalities for pain.
Read a Pain Reporter interview with Nidhi Khosla, PhD, MPH, the lead author of this study, here.
(For a list of other Pain Reporter interviews, click here.)
Link to a slide presentation on topical and transdermal analgesics at the end of life.
Link to a slide presentation on practical medication tips at end of life.
Watch an interview with Dr. Mary Lynn McPherson, as she talks about medication management in advanced illness.
To read more about conclusions and recommendations from the above study, click here.
The American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine abstract may be read here.