Practice Matters-Palliative Care: What Accounts for Disparities in the Use of Palliative Stroke Care?

A new article in Neurology Today summarizes a recently published study looking at reasons for disparities in palliative care use among minorities after ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage. The analysis, published in an online edition of Critical Care Medicine suggests that the hospital setting—and not the belief systems of individual patients —accounts for these racial disparities in care.

Analysis of data confirmed that ethnic minorities who had a stroke were less likely to receive palliative care than whites. But it also showed that all patients with stroke—regardless of racial/ethnic identity—were less likely to receive palliative care if they were cared for in largely minority-serving hospitals.

“What is new about our study is that the racial make-up of a given hospital determines in part the use of palliative care after stroke regardless of race,” lead author Roland Faigle, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins Medicine told Neurology Today. “When we examined the use of palliative care services in majority-white, racially integrated, and predominantly minority hospitals, both ethnic minority and white stroke patients alike were less likely to receive palliative care as the proportion of minority patients treated at a given hospital stratum increases.”

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