Older black patients have higher levels of medical morbidity yet utilize nursing home services at lower rates than white persons. The authors hypothesized that older patients residing in nursing homes may differ clinically by race in ways that suggest new hypotheses about these differences. They compared clinical characteristics of a biracial, inner-city nursing home sample. No racial differences were found in prevalence of dementia-spectrum diagnoses. Depression was typically diagnosed more than twice as often in white patients, whereas black patients showed higher chronic medical illness burden. These results suggest that cognitive, medical, and psychiatric disabilities may interact differently in black and white patients to affect nursing home placement.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Bristol Myers- Squibb/Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Academic Medicine (S. Walker) and National Institutes on Aging Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers Grant AG 05136 (Satellite Core, S. Borson, PI, and Clinical Core, M. Raskind, PI).