Good end-of-life care can be particularly elusive for people who speak another language or whose cultural values differ from those of the Western medical system. SHD projects in the Los Angeles Latino community and the Sacramento area Chinese community address this challenge. Both efforts have been guided by advisory committees whose members represent and serve those diverse populations.
On behalf of the California Coalition for Compassionate Care, SHD and consultant Sandy Chen Stokes, RN, MSN conducted a 2002-03 study with 82 Chinese consumers and 8 Chinese physicians in several California cities. This research revealed that many Chinese families facing difficult medical decisions at the end of life believe that their choices are limited to only two options: aggressive life-sustaining measures or "giving up." Participants cited the lack of information available in Chinese on end-of-life care as a major reason for their confusion.
In response to this identified need for materials in Chinese and with help from Chinese community leaders, in June 2004 SHD published a new bilingual booklet, Mrs. Lee's Story: Medical Decisions Near the End of Life. More than 7,500 copies have been distributed to community and healthcare organizations in California and other states. Order Mrs. Lee's Story.
During 2000-02, SHD coordinated a project with QueensCare Health & Faith Partnership, reaching out to faith communities, senior centers and community groups in Los Angeles. SHD's consumer materials were culturally and linguistically translated into Spanish. A Hispanic QueensCare health promoter used them to help families prepare for end-of-life medical decisions. Sixty-nine organizations and 5,500 Latinos participated in the program. Order materials in Spanish.