Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to get care at poorer-quality hospitals than whites and, as a result, they do not have the same access to quality hospice care, according to a study in the July issue of Health Affairs. The study, conducted by Rand researchers, also found that blacks and Hispanics were less likely to get adequate emotional and religious support.

Rand researchers surveyed caregivers between April 2015 and March 2016. The caregivers had family members or friends who died while getting treated at nearly 2,500 hospices across the country.

Rebecca Anhang Price, a senior policy researcher at the Rand who was the study’s lead author, told HealthDay: “Our findings highlight the need to ensure that blacks and Hispanics have access to high-quality and culturally competent hospice services.” She said the study underscores the importance of publishing quality rankings of hospice care available to patients.

“A growing number of Americans are using hospice care in an attempt to die with dignity and in peace,” HealthDay added. “For example, almost half of Medicare enrollees who died in 2014 received hospice services, compared with fewer than one-quarter in 2000, the researchers said in background notes.”

Sources: Health Affairs; July 2017; HealthDay; July 5, 2017.

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