Author(s)Iannacone, Stephen Mark
Contributor(s)Jones, Nora L
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Those who have known an individual with a chronic medical condition or someone that has been diagnosed with a terminal illness have experienced the physical and emotional toll these diagnoses have on both patients and their loved ones. Medical providers encounter these situations daily and are often responsible for assisting the patient and their family in the decision-making process. The specialty of Hospice and Palliative Medicine was created specifically with these difficult, but very common, situations in mind. Even though the concept of palliative care has become mainstream and its practice is considered standard of care in many situations, it continues to be misunderstood, misrepresented, and underutilized, despite providing measurable benefits to patients, families and the healthcare system. This paper explores two systemic barriers to palliative care that contribute to this problem and highlights how race, cultural mistrust, and a long history of racial disparities in health care work together to undermine the effective delivery of palliative care.