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"Health Treatment For Blacks Often Different Than Whites At End Of Life" - Dan Mangan

  • CNBC News
  • (December 18, 2017)

Two new studies have found that health treatment for African-Americans is often different than whites when they are dying, and that blacks report higher rates of what they believe to be discrimination when being treated for chronic diseases. The first study, released in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, looked at the experiences of patients in hospice, or care for those with terminal illnesses. Black hospice patients were significantly more likely than white patients to be admitted to a hospital, go to an emergency department and to disenroll from hospice prior to death, the study found. Study author, Melissa Aldridge, PhD, MPH, MBA, associate professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said that is worrisome, because hospice as a rule is designed to make patients comfortable as they head toward death, not temporarily prevent it from happening, as care in a hospital may do. Dr. Aldridge said it is to be expected that some hospice patients will need to go to a hospital or emergency room for treatment. And she said there is a wide variation between different providers of hospice in rates of hospital and ED admissions for their patients. “Some of close to zero percent, some have 50 percent,” added Dr. Aldridge.

- Melissa Aldridge, PhD, MPH, MBA, Associate Professor, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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