Helping Hispanic Families Learn about End-of-Life Options
Friday, June 12, 2020
NEW YORK - As the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rise, a new initiative is helping Mexican immigrants living in the United States deal with issues of end-of-life planning.
Hispanic Americans are 18% of the U.S. population, but account for 25% of COVID deaths, adding extra urgency to things like advance directives for end-of-life care.
Patricia A. González-Portillo is National Latino Communications and Constituency Director with the organization Compassion & Choices. She says the collaboration with a national health outreach program from the Mexican Consulate should help reduce disparities in end-of-life planning and health care that negatively impact the immigrant community.
"We can catch this horrible virus that can kill us," says González-Portillo. "Are we going to wait 'til that happens before we have the conversation with our family about what I want in case I die from this illness?"
Compassion & Choices has assembled a free, bilingual COVID-19 toolkit, which is available online at 'CompassionandChoices.org.'
Maria Otero, Compassion & Choice's national constituency manager, points out there are Hispanic cultural values - such as the importance of family involvement and the influence of religion - that affect behavior at the end of life. And there are cultural barriers, too.
"There's not a word in Spanish about advance directives. We don't have a word for 'hospice,'" says Otero. "So, often we are perceived like we are not very assertive to what we want at the end of life."
She adds that the pandemic represents an opportunity to start important conversations among families about a topic that most people prefer to avoid.
Because COVID-19 is so contagious, currently incurable and the symptoms can advance quickly, González-Portillo stresses that everyone should complete an advance directive.
"That clearly details what the person wishes for at the end of life," says González-Portillo. "So that family members are not left with this task of guessing, 'What would my brother want?'"
She says without an advance directive, hospitals often are forced to make decisions about medical interventions and treatment that may not be what the patient would want.
get more stories like this via email
The State of California is launching a new program that will pay college students $10,000 to volunteer doing public service work for a year. …
A coalition of more than 100 local elected officials is pleading for action on the Public Lands Act, a bill that would add protections for more than …
It's been nearly a year since North Dakota began collecting racial data on people accused of committing crimes - a process that paves the way for a re…
Health and Wellness
Excessive screen time can cause a host of negative side effects in kids, but as some Indiana schools go virtual because of the omicron variant…
The second year of the 134th Ohio General Assembly officially starts today, as both the state House and Senate convene. One of the most urgent tasks …
South Dakota is seeing another round of below-freezing temperatures. As folks bundle up, Salvation Army chapters hope they'll consider donating …
Groups representing young people in Montana hope to stop a slate of election laws from going into effect before the state's primary in June. The …
Colorado and other states are hoarding more than $6 billion intended for struggling families, according to new analysis. In 2020, Colorado denied …