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Gerontologist. 2008 Feb;48(1):32-41.

Racial differences in hospice use and in-hospital death among Medicare and Medicaid dual-eligible nursing home residents.

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  • 1Center on Age and Community/Applied Gerontology, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Enderis Hall 1055, P.O. Box 786, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA.



We investigated the role of race in predicting the likelihood of using hospice and dying in a hosptial among dual-eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) nursing home residents.


This follow-back cohort study examined factors associated with hospice use and in-hospital death among non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White dual-eligible nursing home residents (N = 30,765) who died in Florida during one of three years: 2000, 2001, or 2002. We used logistic regression models to identify independent predictors of hospice use and in-hospital death.


After we controlled for other factors, Black residents were significantly less likely to use hospice and more likely to die in a hospital. Principal cause of death moderated the relationship between race and hospice use: Black residents were significantly less likely to use hospice than White residents among residents without cancer as principal cause of death, but there was no difference among residents with cancer as cause of death. Further analyses for each racial group revealed that the impact of cause of death in predicting hospice use was greater among Black residents than White residents.


Hospice care offers many benefits, including reduced risk of in-hospital death, but Black nursing home residents are less likely to use hospice and may have different perceptions of need for hospice care compared with White residents. Future research and outreach efforts should focus on developing culturally sensitive, disease-focused end-of-life education and communication interventions that target residents, families, nursing home providers, and physicians.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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