Elk, R., Emanuel, L., Hauser, J., Bakitas, M., and Levkoff, S. (2020). Developing and testing the feasibility of a culturally based tele-palliative care consult based on the cultural values and preferences of southern, rural African American and White community members: A program by and for the community. Health Equity, 4(1), 52–83.
Watts, K. A., Gazaway, S., Malone, E., Elk, R., Tucker, R., McCammon, S., Goldhagen, M., Graham, J., Tassin, V., Hauser, J., Rhoades, S., Kagawa-Singer, M., Wallace, E., McElligott, J., Kennedy, R., and Bakitas, M. (2020). Community Tele-pal: A community-developed, culturally based palliative care tele-consult randomized controlled trial for African American and White Rural southern elders with a life-limiting illness. Trials, 21(1), 672.
Rural communities, older adults, and African Americans all face barriers to health care access (Watts et al., 2020). Elk et al. (2020) report on the development of a culturally based tele-palliative care consult program, and Watts and colleagues (2020) describe the ongoing clinical trial to test the efficacy of the program.
Elk and colleagues (2020) conducted focus groups with 31 family members to determine treatment needs and cultural values and preferences to develop a palliative care protocol which was then evaluated with health care providers and finally with a feasibility study. Both White and African American family members described the need for more respectful treatment of themselves and their sick family member by hospital physicians and indicated church and religion were important, especially among African American family members. These themes were incorporated into the telehealth consult program. The program was evaluated in rural South Carolina to determine its feasibility and acceptability by patients and their families and was found possible to implement. However, low referral by providers at hospitals was an obstacle, underscoring the need for everyone—including providers—to be supportive and engaged in telehealth options.