African Americans, culture, end of life, intervention, serious illness



  1. Hart, Alysha S. PhD, APRN
  2. Matthews, Alicia K. PhD


Older African Americans (AAs) with serious illness experience disparities in advance care planning, access to palliative care and hospice, and decision-making at end of life. While culturally specific drivers of care outcomes have been identified, little has been done to standardize integration and application of targeted elements of end-of-life (EOL) interventions for AA populations. A scoping review was conducted to describe and evaluate the benefit of culturally targeted EOL interventions for AAs. A computerized search of empirical and gray literature was completed. Twelve full-text articles, 1 brief report, and 1 abstract describing a total of 14 EOL interventions for AAs with a range of serious illness were reviewed. Interventions were described relative to culturally targeted adaptations and resulting cognitive, emotional, and behavioral outcomes. Most interventions were theory-based and used psychoeducational approaches and interactive discussion and interviews. Significant improvements in psychological and behavioral outcomes were reported including knowledge and self-efficacy (n = 8); self-reported anxiety, depression, and/or well-being (n = 5); and advance care plan completion (n = 3). Few culturally tailored randomized controlled trials (n = 9) have been conducted. Preliminary results show promise for interventions using cultural adaptations. Culturally targeted intervention approaches are feasible to address EOL outcomes for AA patients and families experiencing serious illness.