Ethnic differences in the place of death of elderly hospice enrollees.
Elderly minorities are more likely to die in inpatient settings than their Caucasian counterparts. It is not known whether this difference is due to cultural preferences for place of death or decreased access to hospice. This analysis examines ethnic differences in the place of death of elderly hospice patients. Using data from a large, national hospice provider, elderly (> or = 65) African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian decedents admitted to hospice between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2003, were identified. Of the 115,854 eligible decedents, 78.3% were Caucasian, 10.7% African American, and 11% Hispanic. Hispanics and African Americans were more likely to die in inpatient hospice settings than Caucasians (38.5%, 38.5%, and 32%, respectively). After adjustment for demographic and hospice use variables, older African Americans had higher odds than older Caucasians of dying in an inpatient hospice setting than a nursing home (odds ratio (OR)=1.12, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.07-1.19). However, African-American ethnicity was not a significant predictor of death in an inpatient setting versus home (OR=1.03, 95% CI=0.97-1.08)). Hispanics had lower odds than Caucasians of death in an inpatient hospice setting than at home (OR=0.88, 95% CI=0.84, 0.93) and higher odds of death in an inpatient setting than a nursing home (OR=1.45, 95% CI=1.37-1.53). Admission to hospice reduces but does not eliminate ethnic differences in place of death. Further research should examine the effect of individual and cultural preferences for place of death on decisions to enroll in hospice.
Johnson, KS; Kuchibhatala, M; Sloane, RJ; Tanis, D; Galanos, AN; Tulsky, JA
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