Racial Differences in Hospice Use

Racial Differences in Hospice Use

Reported March 10, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — White heart failure patients use hospice 50 percent more than blacks and Hispanics, a new study reveals.

Hospice is a place for patients whose doctors have given them six months or less to live. The purpose of a hospice is to ease pain and other symptoms and offer psychological, social and spiritual support for patients dealing with an ending life. Hospice care is covered by Medicare and sometimes by private insurance

Heart failure is the most common non-cancer reason individuals go to hospice; but research by the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew SeniorLife and Boston University School of Medicine shows blacks have 40 percent lower odds and Hispanics have 50 percent lower odds of receiving such care for heart failure, compared to whites.



Concerning experts is the fact that blacks develop heart failure at a significantly higher rate than Hispanics and whites, mostly because of their increased rates of diabetes and high blood pressure. A recent study revealed young and middle-aged blacks suffer heart failure 20 times more than white individuals in the same age group.

“Our findings document significant racial differences in hospice use and show that overall increases in the availability of hospice services in the 1990s have not erased racial differences in hospice utilization,” Jane L. Givens, M.D., M.S.C.E., lead author and a scientist at the Institute for Aging Research in Boston, was quoted as saying.

Earlier studies show cultural belief and values play an important role in hospice use, but Dr. Givens says hospice care must be culturally sensitive to work.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, March 8, 2010