A new kind of language barrier: Examining disparities in medical teams' referrals of palliative care patients to Pediatric psychology

Title

A new kind of language barrier: Examining disparities in medical teams' referrals of palliative care patients to Pediatric psychology

Creator

Schneider N; Steinberg D; Karfunkle B

Identifier

Publisher

Pediatric Blood and Cancer

Date

2018

Subject

United States; death; education; palliative therapy; retrospective study; cancer patient; language; complication; malignant neoplasm; patient referral; conference abstract; medical record review; human; child; female; male; controlled study; adult; pediatric patient; child psychology; biological product; social care; speech

Description

Background/Objectives: As cancer care has improved, so has the understanding that children with cancer are at risk for psychological distress. The American Academy of Pediatrics has highlighted the importance of addressing these concerns. Our study aims to identify how cultural and language factors may influence whether psychology is involved in a patient and family's care. Preliminary literature in adult-focused research suggests that a vast majority of those referred to psychology are English speaking. Design/Methods: The medical records of Pediatric patients who died from cancer or its complications over a consecutive 18 month-period were examined via retrospective chart review. Patients' demographic information was collected, along with information about whether their medical team requested a psychology consultation. Details about consultations and subsequent intervention were collected. Results: Eighty-nine charts were reviewed. Patients ranged from age 3 months to 25 years. Data indicated that non-English speaking families were referred to psychology at nearly half the rate of English-speaking families (i.e., 16% of patients as compared to 31% of patients). There did not appear to be any statistically significant differences between the referred and non-referred groups aside from the family's primary language. There was a wide range of when patients were referred (4-3168 days before death). Conclusions: Results indicate that, though the comprehensive biological-psychological-social care of children is widely recognized as important, there is a clear disparity in the services offered to families that speak languages other than English. Further research should be conducted to understand referral barriers and missed opportunities to utilize Pediatric psychology, particularly as hospitals in the United States continue to diversify. Finally, offering providers education about how to identify common psychological concerns, particularly in those hailing from different cultural backgrounds, may be particularly valuable in closing the identified referral gap; our poster will make culturally-informed recommendations for such a training.

Citation List Month

December 2018 List

Collection

Citation

Schneider N; Steinberg D; Karfunkle B, “A new kind of language barrier: Examining disparities in medical teams' referrals of palliative care patients to Pediatric psychology,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed October 24, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/15836.

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