Hospice Use Among African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Whites: Implications for Practice

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hospice, utilization, race/ethnicity, disparities, end of life, aging


Objective: This study examined the characteristics of individuals in hospice care by racial/ethnic groups. Methods: A total of 22,936 patients served by a hospice in Central Florida during a four-year period, from 2002 to 2006, were included. Of these, 80.6% were White, 9.6% were Black/African-American, 9.3% were Hispanic and 0.5% were Asian American/Pacific Islander. We examined the associations between the characteristics of hospice users and race/ethnicity, and change of hospice user characteristics over time using chi-square and ANOVA tests. Results: More females than males were represented. Spouse caregivers were most common for Whites (35%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (36%). However, “other” (41%) caregivers were most frequent for African Americans and daughters (33%) were most often caregivers for Hispanics. Cancer was the primary diagnosis across the four groups. Racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to rely on Medicaid than Whites (10-70% vs. 4%) and African Americans were most likely to be transferred from hospital (57%), whereas Whites were referred from assisted living/nursing homes more frequently than others(16% vs. 7-10%). Conclusion: As the hospice settings become more racially/ethnically diverse, it is essential to attend to the different circumstances and needs of the various groups in providing optimal care.