Studies continue regarding quality of care in nursing homes

Studies show a significant decline in quality of nursing home care for blacks compared to whites.
Elderly black Americans in nursing homes get worse care than that enjoyed by their white counterparts.  “If you’re black, you’re much more likely to get your care in a nursing home that’s not so good, relative to nursing homes that are serving predominantly white patients,” Dr Vincent Mor, head of the department of community health at Rhode Island-based Brown University’s school of medicine, told AFP on Tuesday.

Mor was a lead author of the study which looked at “racial segregation in US nursing homes and its relationship to racial disparities in the quality of care.”  The study cited race data from nursing homes found US nursing homes remain relatively segregated by race.

“Blacks are much more likely than whites to be located in nursing homes that have serious deficiencies, lower staffing ratios, and greater financial vulnerability,” the study showed.

Another study led by Brown University researchers and due to be published in June in the Health Services Research medical journal, looked at the rate of hospitalization of nursing home residents.
That study showed that 24.1 percent of black nursing home residents required hospitalization  compared with 18.5 percent white residents.   It found that nursing homes “with high concentrations of blacks had 20 percent higher odds … of hospitalization than residents in nursing homes with no blacks”, and linked the quality of care to the reimbursement policies of Medicaid, the US program for those unable to pay for healthcare.

The rate of hospitalization was an indicator of performance, as were “a whole variety of different measures of quality in terms of regulatory compliance, staffing levels, and so on,” Mor explained.

“Both studies clearly suggest that nursing homes which have a predominance or much higher proportion of African-American residents perform more poorly,” Mor said.