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Publication Abstract

Authors: Haas JS, Earle CC, Orav JE, Brawarsky P, Neville BA, Acevedo-Garcia D, Williams DR

Title: Lower use of hospice by cancer patients who live in minority versus white areas.

Journal: J Gen Intern Med 22(3):396-9

Date: 2007 Mar

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Although hospice care can alleviate suffering at the end of life for patients with cancer, it remains underutilized, particularly by African Americans and Hispanics. OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the racial composition of the census tract where an individual resides is associated with hospice use. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare file for individuals dying from breast, colorectal, lung, or prostate cancer (n = 70,669). MEASUREMENTS: Hospice use during the 12 months before death. RESULTS: Hospice was most commonly used by individuals who lived in areas with fewer African-American and Hispanic residents (47%), and was least commonly used by individuals who lived in areas with a high percentage of African-American and Hispanic residents (35%). Hispanics (odds ratio 0.51, 95% confidence interval 0.29-0.91) and African Americans (0.56, 0.44-0.71) were less likely to use hospice if they lived in a census tract with a high percentage of both African Americans and Hispanics than if they lived in a low minority tract. African Americans and whites were less likely to receive hospice care if they lived in a census tract with a high percentage of Hispanics than if they lived in a low minority area. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing hospice use may require interventions to improve the delivery of hospice care in minority communities.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013