Comparison of hospice use and demographics among European Americans, African Americans, and Latinos

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The goals of this study were to compare the rate of use of hospice services and other relevant characteristics of European American, African American, and Latino hospice patients. Information on length of stay in hospice, marital status, age, disposition at termination, living situation, care-giver, referral source, and payment method was collected on patients who used hospice care in southern New Jersey between the years 1995 and 2001 (N = 1958). African Americans and Latinos were both found to use services at significantly lower rates than European Americans. In addition, African American use of hospice declined significantly during this time period, while European American use increased. Differences were also found among the groups in marital status, living situation, caregiver, referral source, and payment method. These differences highlight the need for hospice providers to recognize issues unique to minority groups. The reasons for these disparities need to be clarified by further research.

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