White Nursing Home Residents Less Likely To Be Hospitalized

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NursingHome Residents

Blacknursing home residents are more likely than their white counterparts to behospitalized for conditions such as dehydration, poor nutrition and bedsores,according to a study to be published in the June issue of the journal HealthServices Research, the WashingtonPostreports. Lead study author Andrea Gruneir and other researchers affiliated withthe Brown UniversityAlbert Medical School examined data from 2000 on morethan 500,000 nursing home residents in 9,000 facilities across the U.S. (Spinner, WashingtonPost, 1/15).

According to the study, 18.5% of white nursing home residents were hospitalizedin 2000, compared with 24.1% of black residents. Those in nursing homes withhigh populations of black residents were 20% more likely to be hospitalizedthan those in facilities with no black residents (Gruneir et al., HealthServices Research, OnlineEarly Articles).

Residents in nursing homes that were very reliant on Medicaid funding, hadlower patient-to-employee ratios, or did not have a nurse practitioner ormedical director were more likely than others to be hospitalized, according toSusan Miller, associate professor of community health at Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research. Miller added that the poorestresidents were most likely to be hospitalized.

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Gruneir said, "The percentage of residents who had to be hospitalized wasstrongly correlated with the residents on Medicaid, which also was strongly tiedto facilities with limited resources."

The study concluded that the racial disparities could be reduced by providingmore resources to nursing homes that heavily rely on Medicaid funding, the Postreports.

Janet Wells, director of public policy for the National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform, said, "Nursing homes in thiscountry have a serious deficiency in quality, and studies have shown thatAfrican-Americans are more likely to get the worst care," adding, "Wethink it's a civil rights issue." She also said that having a highproportion of residents covered by Medicaid does not necessarily predict thequality of care, adding, "A lot of nursing homes with Medicaid residentsare good nursing homes. We see them all over the country" (WashingtonPost, 1/15).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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