College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Summer 8-2008

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Linda Montgomery, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Spencer Thompson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Shawn Watson, Ph.D.


Nationally, hospice care and the signing of advance directives are underutilized by minority populations. Research on this phenomenon includes cultural differences, access to medical care and language barriers. A retrospective study of 1,817 closed patient charts from a local hospice was conducted to determine significant differences among the White, Black and Hispanic patient populations. The number of White patients admitted to both hospice homecare and to the hospice inpatient was significantly greater than the number of admissions of either the Black or Hispanic patients. There were no significant findings in the total number of services provided to each of the patient groups. Hospices must be more diligent in assessing the needs of patients within their cultural setting and then to align their staffing patterns, their use of language and communication and their one-on-one interactions to create an inviting environment.