Respecting Faith, Hope, and Miracles in African American Christian Patients at End-of-Life: Moving from Labeling Goals of Care as “Aggressive” to Providing Equitable Goal-Concordant Care

Shena Gazaway, Elizabeth Chuang, Moneka Thompson, Gloria White-Hammond, Ronit Elk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract: In this article, we demonstrate first how the term “aggressive care,” used loosely by clinicians to denote care that can negatively impact quality of life in serious illness, is often used to inappropriately label the preferences of African American patients, and discounts, discredits, and dismisses the deeply held beliefs of African American Christians. This form of biased communication results in a higher proportion of African Americans than whites receiving care that is non-goal-concordant and contributes to the prevailing lack of trust the African American community has in our healthcare system. Second, we invite clinicians and health care centers to make the perspectives of socially marginalized groups (in this case, African American Christians) the central axis around which we find solutions to this problem. Based on this, we provide insight and understanding to clinicians caring for seriously ill African American Christian patients by sharing their beliefs, origins, and substantive importance to the African American Christian community. Third, we provide recommendations to clinicians and healthcare systems that will result in African Americans, regardless of religious affiliation, receiving equitable levels of goal-concordant care if implemented. Key Message: Labeling care at end-of-life as “aggressive” discounts the deeply held beliefs of African American Christians. By focusing on the perspectives of this group clinicians will understand the importance of respecting their religious values. The focus on providing equitable goal-concordant care is the goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • African American values
  • Goal-concordant care
  • Goals of care
  • Serious illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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