Yolo Hospice has been granted $1 million by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation to research, strategize, and implement a program that addresses the barriers to end-of-life care and advanced care planning experienced by Native American and rural communities.
Access to quality, timely healthcare is critical to ensure the long-term health of any community. Rural and indigenous populations face barriers to care that can have a profound and negative influence.
Historically, these communities have struggled getting access to healthcare. Financial inability to pay for services, a lack of transportation, or not being able to take time off work have made it so these communities do not receive the care and attention they need.
45% of Medicare decedents in California received at least one day of hospice care in 2017, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Of that population, only 0.4% were of Native American descent.
These statistics are why both Yolo Hospice and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation want to start this project as soon as possible.
“This grant is about developing strategies to meet the unique needs for indigenous and rural communities in California,” Craig Dresang, CEO of Yolo Hospice said.
The grant will fund a three-year project headed by Yolo Hospice in partnership with the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
Yolo Hospice will begin the first year of the project by performing research and collecting data so that the needs of these communities can be fully understood. An academic partner will be secured to work on the project alongside Yolo Hospice as well as other end-of-life care providers.
The second year of this project will then analyze these findings so that Yolo Hospice and other community leaders can strategize the best approach to bring these communities accessible, quality end-of-life care.
Yolo Hospice and Yocha Dehe will use those years of research and planning to establish a program in 2023 that will make the services offered by organizations like Yolo Hospice — palliative care, hospice services, bereavement services, caregiver relief — much more obtainable to populations that are routinely left out by urban-based practices and ideals.
“Providing comfort to a loved-one in their final days is one of the most difficult challenges a family will ever face. Those difficulties are compounded in rural and Native American communities where too often it’s a struggle to find help with providing that care,” the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation said. “We are humbled to be part of the solution.”