Addressing disparities in care, to the very end of life

Recently, a team led by Amelia Barwise, M.B.B.Ch., a pulmonary and critical care researcher at Mayo Clinic examined end-of-life decision making in the intensive care unit. Dr. Barwise is also a pre-doctoral (Ph.D.) student in the Clinical and Translational Science Track of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

“We believed that conversations  about complex and sensitive issues at end of life,” says Dr. Barwise, “combined with limited English proficiency, could easily cause suboptimal communication, and in turn to a lower quality of care.”

Dr. Barwise and her fellow researchers sought to determine if there were differences in decision making and care for patients in the ICU, by examining differences in code status and health care utilization as well as advance care planning for patients with limited English proficiency. Their findings are published in the September issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.