Researchers: Blacks likely to have fewer nursing home resources

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African-American nursing home residents tend to live in facilities with higher percentages of African Americans. They also are more likely to be hospitalized than their white counterparts, according to a new study that examined more than 500,000 residents and about half of the nation's 17,000 nursing facilities.

"This sort of segregation across facilities is of concern because it seems to be strongly associated with measures of resource availability," said Andrea Gruneir, who led the study with former colleagues at Brown University. "In other words, black residents are more likely than white residents to be cared for in nursing homes that appear to have access to fewer resources."

The study covered a five-month period in 2000 and targeted urban facilities with more than 20 beds. One general finding was that facilities more dependent on Medicaid funding tended to be worse off when it came to staffing and operations organization.

The investigation appears in the latest issue of the journal Health Services Research. It comes just two months after a Temple University study found that black nursing home residents are more than 2.6 times more likely than whites to live in a facility that primarily serves poorer Medicaid residents. Blacks also were 10% more liable to be in a facility that was significantly understaffed or financially strained, researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs.