Palliative care needs further funding to meet cultural needs

More funding is needed in palliative care services to ensure they are meeting the cultural needs of older ethnic minority people, a new report has said.

The report by the National Council of Palliative Care and the Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity found that individual’s cultural needs are sometimes not understood.

Older people from ethnic minorities may be at a disadvantage in receiving the required standard of care because they are “often poor, socially marginalised and some can’t speak English,” the report said.  

It noted: “It has been suggested that areas with high proportions of people from ethnic minority groups may need greater resources to pay for interpreting services and for the education and training needs of palliative care professionals who will require an understanding of the different approaches taken by different cultures to end of life issues.”

The report found that palliative carers need to be trained so they have an understanding of each individual’s cultural needs.

The report also established that due to language barriers, patients from ethnic minority groups may not understand what is happening to them. This can lead to confusion and therefore further torment for the patient.

In the 2001 UK census it was found that 3.5 per cent of people aged 50 and over were from ethnic minority groups.

Ethnicity, Older People and Palliative Care is available to buy at £15 per copy. To order the publication please go to or contact Alexa Gainsbury on 020 7697 1520 or


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