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Mon May 19, 2008
Dealing with the End of Life in African American Families
By Susan B. Wilson
KANSAS CITY, MO – There's an old saying: Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. If asked, most people want to die without pain, at home and with friends and family. But there can be cultural differences that influence the death and dying experience. According to the National Institute of Health, African Americans have higher mortality rates than their white counterparts --from chronic disease, cancer and AIDS. But African Americans make up less than 10% of patients who use hospice services. Most die in a hospital.
Kansas City Hospice President Elaine McIntosh and social worker Gloria Thomas Anderson recently spoke to KCUR's Susan Wilson about dying in different cultures. Thomas Anderson has written a booklet addressing end-of-life issues in the African American community.
Susan also recently spoke to Diona Webb, who recently traveled to New York City to be with her uncle at his deathbed.