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Hospice Revamps Staffing and Services To Offer Culturally Competent Care and Outreach to Hispanic Community, Enhancing Awareness and Acceptance of End-of-Life Services

To attract and better serve the many Hispanics in its local community, Hospice by the Sea, Inc., created the Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) program, which featured cultural competency training for all staff; a dedicated, bilingual care team providing culturally and linguistically appropriate care to Hispanic patients and families; and outreach to educate local Hispanics and the physicians who serve them about the availability and purpose of hospice services. The program enhanced awareness of, attitudes about, and willingness to accept hospice services among Hispanics, and improved the cultural competency of staff. As the program grew, program leaders realized the Abriendo Puertas care team had reached capacity and they could not staff adequately to offer multiple dedicated care teams. In 2008, program leaders disbanded the existing team, integrating its members into other, geographically based teams so that they could better serve Hispanic patients. Other elements of the program, including outreach to the community and staff training, remain in place.