Advocacy Focus Groups are yielding valuable insights

It is no secret that minorities in America are underrepresented in hospice care. Studies have been conducted around the nation to help explain why, but Alive wanted to learn the attitudes and opinions of our local communities. Starting in 2016, we began a series of Advocacy Focus Groups.

We began with local African Americans who had used our services. Through this group, we wanted to learn the process they went through before admitting their loved ones into Alive’s care. We also began to talk about cultural barriers that may have come up during their hospice experience. This group proved to be so powerful and informative that we recognized the need for a second meeting with them.

We then convened community groups with little or no exposure to hospice. One of the groups was composed of the general community and another was targeted at African American Millennials.

Common themes emerged from these focus groups: trust, faith, family, knowledge, and communication. One participant commented: “You need to educate the pastors, bring them in and feed them a good meal and teach them about hospice.” In response to this suggestion, Alive now hosts Interfaith Fellowship Breakfasts for local and regional clergy. We learned many things from these groups and are beginning to incorporate them into our outreach and community education.

In 2017, Alive began a new series of focus groups in the Hispanic/Latino community. Our first meeting in March included 16 attendees. These focus groups are beginning to have an impact across Alive as minority community members begin to volunteer their expertise.

Through these Advocacy Focus Groups, we hope to ensure that all people are aware of how hospice services can support a person and their family at end-of-life and to provide an improved endof- life experience with a new kind of hope.

For more information, contact Community Relations Manager Keith King at 615.346.8418 or