Quality of care improving for minorities in nursing homes: study

The quality of care in nursing homes with higher populations of racial minority residents has improved, according to a study published in Health Affairs. 

Much of these improvements can be linked to the increase in Medicaid payments, which provides about half of all long-term care funds, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded. In the last 20 years, the number of African-American, Hispanic and Asians found in nursing homes make up about 20% of the resident population, which continues to increase.

Data from more than 14,000 nursing homes were analyzed from 2006 to 2011. The data included federal quality standards, such as clinical care, patient safety, quality of life, physical state of the facility and staff performance. Researchers compared these trends to Medicaid reimbursements and found that an increase of $10 per resident per day helped decrease the number of clinical care discrepancies.

However, there are still deficiencies among racial differences between facilities; looking at the same trends, researchers concluded that facilities with high concentration of minorities, more than 35%, had a greater number of discrepancies. In fact, those with more racial and ethnic minorities tend to be more limited financially and be short-staffed. Residents in these facilities also experience lower quality of life, according to another study from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.