Dr. Gloria Horsley connected with Deborah Gonzalez during the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference, where they discussed the relationship between hospice systems and the Latino community. What kind of cultural effect does hospice have on this demographic? Gonzalez notes that the Latino community is under-served in hospice care, and she works diligently to bridge that gap. “I think that culture has to do a lot with it, especially because when we talk about hospice it sounds like being doomed,” she says.

Gonzalez believes that education and information are critical to helping the Latino community understand that a good hospice system is well aligned with their values. Cultural beliefs and family beliefs can be a foundation in hospice care. Plus, many in the Latino community take great pride in being the caretaker, and hospice care can seem like it takes that role away from them. “They see caregivers as themselves, not as outsiders,” explains Gonzales. However, with the right hospice system, it can be a team of insiders and “outsiders” working together.

Tapping a Resource

According to Gonzalez, “really understanding that we are helping them and completing what they’re doing” is paramount. Knowing how the Latino community will respond to such care is very important, since there are a number of nuances those who aren’t in the community don’t understand. For example, the Spanish word for “hospice” is very similar to “orphan,” which is of course something loving family members want to steer clear of.

Years ago in Latino communities, hospices served as places where people were taken when nobody could or would take care of them. That stigma lingers today and is a hurdle that hospice workers need to continue to work to overcome.



Gloria Horsley

Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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