Science & Tech

Minority patients face barriers to optimum end-of-life care

1 min read

Researchers look at how to change situation

Eric Krakauer is an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and part of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Palliative Care Service. He and his colleagues have been concerned that, according to many national studies, minorities do not receive the same level of health care that non-minorities do. This is particularly true in the area of what is known as end-of-life care. One of the most obvious reasons for disparities in health care involves health insurance, says Krakauer. He points out that minorities are twice as likely to be uninsured as European Americans. “We need a better national plan,” he says. Krakauer also says that there’s a problem with medical education. “There’s an under-representation of minorities in medicine, and that’s noteworthy because minority physicians are more likely to care for minority patients,” he says. Krakauer says another barrier to optimum end-of-life care for minorities is mistrust due to a long history of racism in medicine. He says that some patients may think that doctors will not make all treatment options available to them.