Racial disparity has long been a major issue in healthcare and nowhere has this been more prevalent than in nursing homes across the country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Black and Brown nursing home residents were some of the hardest hit by the virus, and this is just one area where it’s clear that racial disparity has a significant impact on patient outcomes.
Continue reading to learn more about how race plays a role in nursing home care and what you can do if your loved one was the victim of nursing home negligence or abuse as a result of racial discrimination.
Exploring the Prevalence of Racial Disparity In Nursing Homes
Non-White Patients Have Worse Medical Outcomes Overall
There is a significant body of evidence indicating that non-white patients receive poorer quality medical care than white patients, even when controlling for factors such as income and insurance status and adjusting for things like demographics, risk factors, and hospital characteristics.
In 2021, the American Medical Association estimated that on average, there are more than 74,000 excess deaths each year among the Black population compared to white people.
There are many possible explanations for this racial disparity in healthcare. One theory is that it is due to implicit bias on the part of healthcare providers. Studies have shown that healthcare providers often hold unconscious biases against non-white patients, which can impact the quality of care these patients receive.
Another explanation is that racial disparities in healthcare may be due to structural racism – meaning that our society is set up in a way that benefits the white population while discriminating against non-white people. For example, minorities are more likely to live in poverty or lack health insurance, both of which can lead to worse health outcomes.
COVID-19 Deaths Were Higher In Racially Diverse Long-Term Care Facilities
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on minority communities across the country. This was especially true for long-term care facility residents: according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Nursing Home COVID-19 Public File, nursing homes with high ratios of minority patients reported an average of 6.5 deaths, compared to just 2.6 deaths at nursing homes without non-white patients. This amounts to a 61% increase in COVID deaths in high-minority long-term care facilities.
There are many possible explanations for this disparity, including differences in underlying health conditions and access to quality medical care both inside and outside of long-term care facilities.
However, experts believe that racism – both individual and systemic – also played a role. For example, some minority long-term care facility residents may have been less likely than their white counterparts to receive timely medical attention or be admitted to hospitals when they needed it.
Alternatively, some facilities may have been located in areas with higher rates of poverty or crowding, which made them more susceptible to outbreaks. It’s clear that race played a significant role in determining who did or didn’t survive the COVID-19 pandemic while living in a long-term care facility.
What Families Can Do For Loved Ones Whose Care Was Impacted By Racial Discrimination
If your loved one was a victim of racial discrimination while receiving nursing home care, there are several things you can do. First, you can file a complaint with either your state’s long-term care ombudsman or Department of Health. These agencies are responsible for investigating complaints about nursing home abuse and neglect, including cases of racial discrimination.
You can also contact a lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse to discuss your legal options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to get compensated for your loved one’s pain and suffering or even file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
You can also speak out about what happened to help raise awareness about this important issue and prevent it from happening to so many other families in the future.
When to Get Help From a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Many people are not aware of the signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Sometimes, family members may visit their loved ones in the nursing home and not see any obvious signs of abuse or mistreatment. However, there are some things you can look for that may indicate your loved one is being abused or neglected.
If your loved one is suddenly withdrawn or depressed, this may be a sign that something is wrong. If they are no longer participating in activities that they used to enjoy, or if they seem to be isolated or avoiding contact with other residents and staff, this could also indicate that they are being mistreated.
If you have noticed any of these signs, it is important to speak to someone at the nursing home right away. You should also contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal options and get help protecting your loved one’s rights. Call Mazow | McCullough, PC today for more information at (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.