Arkansas Hospice Awarded $50,000 Grant to Reach Rural Black Communities

The Arkansas Hospice Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation to educate African American communities in rural Arkansas about the benefits of hospice and palliative care.

Part of the Hillman Serious Illness and End of Life Emergent Innovation Program, the award is one of eight new grants supporting nursing-driven innovation in communities that have historically struggled against oppression, discrimination, and indifference.

For Arkansas Hospice, the grant will support the organization’s Reaching Communities of Color in Arkansas initiative to help expand the acceptance and understanding of hospice and palliative care among African Americans, especially in rural Arkansas. Deanna May, RN, one of Arkansas Hospice’s education and quality coordinators, will lead the project alongside Kyle Jones, Arkansas Hospice’s minority outreach coordinator.

“Research shows that minority groups, particularly African Americans, are skeptical of hospice care and are at risk of not dying well – meaning that their final days might be filled with pain, fear, and regret, rather than making the most of that time with loved ones,” May said. Our program will offer education on the benefits of hospice and palliative care through partnerships with African American faith communities and small-town leadership. It’s our hope that these relationships, along with technological innovations, will help turn these statics around – and ultimately help make the final days of more Arkansans as comfortable and pain-free as possible.”

“The pandemic has made disparities in palliative and end-of-life care even more painfully clear,” said Rachael Watman, vice president of programs at the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “Together with our partners at the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, we are committed to addressing these gaps in care and advancing innovative ideas to serve marginalized populations.”