Minorities: Facilities treat us worse, and life quality suffers

Tetyana Shippee, Ph.D.
Tetyana Shippee, Ph.D.

Facility differences in nursing homes impact minority residents' quality of life, research published in the Journal of Aging and Health found. 

Quality of life refers to non-medical outcomes of care, noted Tetyana Shippee, Ph.D., lead author and assistant professor of health policy and management in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. These outcomes consist of being treated with privacy and respect, food satisfaction and relationships with staff.

Minority residents in the study reported lower quality of life compared to white residents, much of which was related to the difference in health needs of minorities. Data showed nursing homes with a higher population of minority residents had lower quality of life scores overall. 

“Our findings suggest that most of the racial differences in quality of life are not based on individuals' race/ethnicity but reflect facility differences in how they serve the needs of minority older adults,” Shippee told McKnight's. Nursing homes can use this information to come up with a new plan of action.

Facilities that had a higher proportion of minorities tended to have residents rely predominately on Medicaid and were located in poor communities. Geographical segregation could be a confounder in the relationship between resident's race and quality of life, Shippee explained.