More Hospitalizations, ER Visits in Nursing Homes With Higher Levels of Black Residents

MONDAY, June 19, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that nursing homes that serve Black residents have more hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

This may be driven by differences in staffing levels from home to home, according to researchers.

For the study, they examined 2019 data from more than 14,000 U.S. nursing homes.

Nursing homes with at least 50% Black residents had lower daily per-patient ratios of registered nurse and certified nursing assistant hours than those with no Black residents. They also had greater ratios of licensed practical nurse hours per resident per day.

As the proportion of Black residents in a nursing home increased, so did the numbers of hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

The study also found that nursing homes serving Black residents were also more likely to have more Medicaid-funded residents and be for-profit operations.

“As lower use of RNs has generally been associated with increased emergency department visits and hospitalizations of nursing home residents, it is likely that the relative scarcity of skilled workers largely drove the differences in hospitalizations and emergency department visits in nursing homes with greater proportions of Black residents,” said lead author Jasmine Travers, an assistant professor at New York University's Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

“Staffing is a modifiable area in which federal and state agencies should take action to eliminate disparities in quality of care among nursing homes,” Travers said in a university news release.

The findings were recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

More information

The nonprofit KFF has more on disparities in health care among Black patients.

SOURCE: New York University, news release, June 14, 2023

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