Racial differences in the utilization of inpatient rehabilitation services among elderly stroke patients.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: We undertook this study to ascertain whether elderly black and white patients who are hospitalized for stroke utilize inpatient physical and occupational therapy (PT/OT) services differently, adjusting for characteristics associated with use of these services. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed medical records regarding the care received by a nationally representative sample of 2497 black and white Medicare patients, aged 65 years of older, who were hospitalized at any of 297 acute-care hospitals located in 30 communities within five states. RESULTS: Compared with whites, black stroke patients were younger and more likely to have Medicaid coverage, have an ischemic stroke, and have a motor deficit noted at the time of admission. There was no difference in either sex or level of consciousness on admission. Overall, a larger proportion of black stroke patients used inpatient PT/OT at some point during the hospitalization (66.3% versus 55.8%; P < .01). However, after adjustment for characteristics associated with use of PT/OT, there was no racial difference in either the likelihood of inpatient PT/OT use (adjusted relative risk, 1.06; 95% confidence limits, 0.89 to 1.27; P = .42) or time to initial contact (median: blacks, 6.6 days; whites, 7.4 days; P = .42). Adjusted analyses also indicated a similarity between the racial groups in the number of inpatient PT/OT days overall or as a proportion of the hospital stay. CONCLUSIONS: Elderly black and white stroke patients who have Medicare coverage have similar patterns of use of inpatient PT/OT services.
Horner, RD; Hoenig, H; Sloane, R; Rubenstein, LV; Kahn, KL
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