Article Abstract

Perceived knowledge of palliative care among immigrants to the United States: a secondary data analysis from the Health Information National Trends Survey

Authors: Amelia Barwise, Andrea Cheville, Mark L. Wieland, Ognjen Gajic, Alexandra J. Greenberg-Worisek

Abstract

Background: Immigrants to North America receive more interventions at end of life potentially due to knowledge gaps. The primary objective of this study was to measure and describe levels of perceived knowledge about palliative care among immigrants to the United States (US) compared to those born in the US. Our secondary objective was to identify trusted sources for seeking information about palliative care among immigrants and compare these trusted sources with those born in the US. We hypothesized that immigrants would have less knowledge of palliative care than those born in US and would trust different sources for information about palliative care.
Methods: We analyzed data from the nationally representative 2018 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5, cycle 2). Questionnaires were administered via mail between January and May 2018 to a population-based sample of adults. The primary outcome of interest was assessed using the item “How would you describe your level of knowledge about palliative care?” The secondary outcome of interest was determined using the item “Imagine you had a strong need to get information about palliative care, which of the following would you most trust as a source of information about palliative care?” Descriptive statistics were calculated, and bivariate analyses run between the outcomes of interest and sociodemographic characteristics (age, sex, education, race/ethnicity, nativity, fluency with English). Multivariable logistic regressions were conducted to assess the role of nativity, controlling for relevant sociodemographic variables. Jackknife weighting was used to generate population-level estimates.
Results: About 70% of those born in the US and 77% of immigrants (weighted) responded that they had “never heard of palliative care.” Trusted sources of palliative care were very similar between the groups (all P>0.05). Both groups’ preferred trusted source of palliative care knowledge was “health care provider,” with over 80% of respondents in each group selecting this option. Printed materials and social media were the least popular trusted sources among both groups. After adjusting for relevant sociodemographic characteristics, we found no association between poor knowledge of palliative care and nativity (P=0.22). Female respondents had 2.5-fold increased odds of reporting low levels of perceived knowledge of palliative care (OR =2.58, 95% CI, 1.76–3.78; P<0.001). Education was an important predictor of perceived knowledge of palliative care; as education level increased, so did perceived knowledge of palliative care (P<0.001).
Conclusions: Perceived knowledge of palliative care is poor generally, regardless of birthplace. Trusted sources for palliative care are similar between immigrants and those born in the US. Education is important and is a strong predictor of perceived knowledge of palliative care. Women perceive they have lower levels of knowledge of palliative care (PC) than men. Differences in end of life care between immigrants and non-immigrants cannot be explained by knowledge differences.

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