A new study from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found racial differences in nursing home residents’ quality of life (QOL). QOL refers to non-medical aspects of residents’ care such as relationships with staff, satisfaction with food, and social engagement.
Minority residents reported lower QOL compared to white residents, but much of the difference was due to different health needs of minority residents. The data also showed nursing homes with a higher proportion of minority residents scoring lower on overall quality of life scores compared to facilities that were predominantly white.
The findings were published in the Journal of Aging and Health.
“The study sought to better understand if minority nursing home residents experience lower quality of life than their white counterparts,” said Dr. Tetyana Shippee, lead author and assistant professor in the School of Public Health. “Minnesota is one of two states to have multi-domain, validated measures of quality of life and is also nationally known for excellent nursing home care, so we were surprised there were significant racial differences.”
Historically, nursing home populations have been predominantly white, while minorities relied upon family and social networks for care. Now, minorities are increasingly using nursing home facilities, in part due to fewer financial resources and reliance on Medicaid.
Dr. Shippee believes this trend will continue to grow over time as reflected by the nation’s changing demographics.
Study findings also include:
“With these study findings in mind, it will be important for nursing homes to develop a new plan of action to address differences in program services and staffing issues for minorities in nursing homes,” said Dr. Shippee.