Human Development and Family Studies

HDFS Newsletter 4-2-13

HDFS Senior Emily Hensley, who will be graduating in the Spring of 2013, is doing an independent study with Dr. Sudha Shreeniwas on end-of-life care among Russian immigrants in North Carolina. Emily’s work on this topic has been accepted for presentation at the Annual meeting of the Southern Gerontological Society, Charlotte, NC. April 3-5, 2013. Her findings suggest that first generation Russian immigrants are more hesitant to utilize end of life care services, whereas second generation immigrants are more likely to enroll in services. Further, many first generation immigrants are not aware what hospice, palliative care, health care power of attorney and advanced directives are. They strongly believed that family, specifically children, should serve as primary caregivers. This poses a challenge for American staff in end of life care facilities. For example, Hospice staff are mandated to provide an interpreter to assist seniors in obtaining services, but cannot use family members in that role. All hospice staff participants agreed that it is more challenging to serve patients who are not native born citizens, due to cultural and language differences. They also believed the best way to reach out to immigrant communities is through community leaders and education. Funding for the project was provided by UNCG’s Gerontology Program, Dr. Janice Wassel, Director.

On a personal note, Emily also just became engaged to Anton Eckemoff. Congratulations Emily!