Study aims to improve access to palliative care for South Asian communities 

Compton Care has completed a large-scale investigation into the challenges faced by the South Asian community when accessing its services. The study, which engaged more than 500 members of the South Asian community, was commissioned to break down barriers and help more people benefit from its care.The year-long study, supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and Hospice UK, was launched in response to a low uptake of palliative care services among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in the UK. For Compton Care, where Wolverhampton has one of the largest BAME populations outside London (35.5%, of which 17.5% are South Asian), just 3% of its patients fall into that demographic.

Through a series of one-on-one conversations, focus groups, roadshows and events, Compton uncovered core challenges facing the South Asian community. These include deep-rooted stigma and shame associated with gaining external support, while others face intergenerational differences in opinion on what level of outside support is acceptable from outside the family. Language barriers and limited understanding of the types of services available, including Compton’s community care services (70%), also prevent this community from exploring palliative care options for themselves or a loved one.

In response, Compton Care has developed a series of industry recommendations, highlighting changes to practice designed to give greater access to services in a wider range of care settings. These span: increased investment into community engagement activities; ensuring literature is culturally appropriate and disseminated correctly; appointing dedicated employees to boost engagement with the South Asian community; nurturing and empowering champions and ambassadors responsible for providing support; delivering more personalised care and leading more targeted events for specific communities. Since completing the study, Compton has already begun to implement these changes in its services.

Claire Marshall, CEO at Compton Care, said: “Compton Care is operating in one of the most diverse areas in the country, but patient data highlighted that we weren’t fully reaching and serving all the full breadth of our community, so it was really important to look at why and how we can change this. The findings gave us a clear understanding of the issues and the evidence to start making the right changes.

“I’d like to thank the National Lottery Community and Hospice UK, our specialist team and all those who got involved in the project for helping us to get to this point, enabling us to better educate and empower those in the South Asian community, while addressing the misconceptions about what we do so that more people will explore how we can help them.

“We have a strong desire to set a new standard for the services on offer to people with complex and incurable conditions, delivering person centred care through community designed services. We hope this project helps inform other palliative care organisations on what they can do or inspire them to look at their own communities and how they can best improve access to their services.”

Download the report and recommendations here.

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