Improving Access and Health Outcomes in Palliative Care through Cultural Competence: An exploration of opportunities and challenges in India
Indian Journal of Palliative Care
Cultural competence, Health disparity, Healthcare disparity, Palliative care
People who belong to ethnic, racial and cultural minorities often have less access to healthcare and have poorer health outcomes when compared to the majority population. In the COVID pandemic, too, health disparities have been observed. Similar disparities have been noted in patients with advanced disease and suffering from pain, with minority patients having less access to or making less use of palliative care. In the US, a range of solutions has been proposed to address the issue of inequality in access to healthcare, with cultural competence figuring prominently among them. This study explores whether and how cultural competence may be applied to palliative care in India to improve access and health outcomes. In the literature, it is argued that, in diverse societies, cultural competence is an essential part of the solution towards equitable healthcare systems. Solutions to problems of healthcare disparities must go beyond an increase in financial resources as more financial resources will not necessarily make the healthcare system more equitable. A culturally competent system recognises and integrates at all levels the culture as a significant component of care, which is particularly relevant at the end of life. If efficiently implemented, cultural competence will lead to higher patient satisfaction, better follow-up and patient compliance and an improved reputation of palliative care among minorities. This may help to reduce inequalities in access and health outcomes in palliative care.
Kashyap, K., & Gielen, J. (2022). Improving Access and Health Outcomes in Palliative Care through Cultural Competence: An exploration of opportunities and challenges in India. Indian Journal of Palliative Care, 28 (4), 331-337. https://doi.org/10.25259/IJPC_21_21