Nancy Ruiz

Bridging the Barriers.

Language and cultural barriers can often make an already difficult and delicate situation, such as end-of-life care, even more so. Hospice of Santa Cruz County’s bi-lingual and bi-cultural care team has worked toward removing barriers so that the needs of Spanish-speaking patients and families are met with the right blend of compassion and cultural understanding. Nancy Ruiz shares her experience in caring for her husband, Victor, with the support of Hospice.

The hospice care my family received was wonderful. The hands-on care and the gentle way of being that so many of the Hospice team members had made such a difference. But it was the extra care that the team provided for my brother-in-law, Augusto that stands out for me. People from Latin America have an enormous commitment and connection to family and so it was very important to Augusto that he was here, with my husband at the end of his life.

Augusto speaks very little English and came from Columbia to be with his brother. He was committed to being with him at the end of his life. I was most impressed by the nurses and hospice aides that came to care for my husband. Because they spoke Spanish, they could communicate with Augusto what was happening. They allowed Augusto to be part of the team, and to care for his brother, which was such a gift. The connection they made with Augusto was beyond language. It seemed to me like it was an understanding – an extra dimension of cultural understanding which made such a difference for Augusto, for my husband and for our family.

For me, having Hospice care was such a help….they helped us make each day as comfortable as possible for Victor. For my brother-in-law Augusto, it was a link – to have that commonality of language and that connection beyond language gave all of us an extra level of support. That made all the difference.