Racial Differences in Associations of Perceived Health and Social and Physical Activities With Advance Care Planning, End-of-Life Concerns, and Hospice Knowledge

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Abstract

Associations of perceived health and social and physical activities with end-of-life (EOL) issues have been rarely studied, not to mention racial disparities in such associations. To address this gap, this study examined racial differences in the associations of perceived health and levels of social and physical activities with advance care planning, EOL concerns, and knowledge of hospice care among community-dwelling older adults in Alabama. Data from a statewide survey of 1044 community-dwelling older adults on their long-term care needs were analyzed using descriptive statistics and logistic and linear regressions. Results showed that black older adults were less likely to know about or document advance care planning and to have accurate knowledge of hospice care; however, despite their poorer perceived health, black older adults reported fewer EOL concerns. Higher levels of perceived health and social and physical activities were associated with knowledge about advance care planning among white older adults but not among black older adults. Both black and white older adults with poorer perceived health and lower levels of social and physical activities tended to have more EOL concerns and less knowledge of hospice care. These findings suggest that interventions to address suboptimal levels of perceived health and social and physical activities among black older adults may increase knowledge of advance care planning. Also, supportive services to address EOL concerns should be targeted at older adults with poorer perceived health and limited participation in social and physical activities.

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