Background: The authors investigated whether there were racial disparities in the receipt of hospice services within geographic residence and socioeconomic status (SES) levels.
Methods: In total, 117,894 patients aged ≥66 years with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked database who had received hospice services in the last 6 months before death and who died between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2005. Multivariate odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to describe relations.
Results: In urban areas, there were significant disparity trends in age/sex-adjusted rates for blacks and Asians/Pacific Islanders compared with whites (P = .003 and P = .036, respectively). Blacks (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.75-0.82), Asians/Pacific Islanders (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.39-0.46), and Hispanics (OR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.73-0.91) were less likely to receive hospice services. In rural areas, blacks were 21% less likely to receive hospice services (OR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.63-0.98). Patients in the poorest socioeconomic status (SES) quartile were 7% less likely to receive hospice services (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.86-1.00). Moreover, within stratified SES quartiles, blacks and Asians/Pacific Islanders had lower receipt of hospice services, and Asians/Pacific Islanders were the least likely to receive hospice services, particularly those in the poorest SES quartile. In general, older patients and women were more likely to receive hospice services.
Conclusions: There were substantial disparities in the receipt of hospice services among ethnic minorities within urban and rural areas and within SES levels. The results indicated that efforts are needed to identify barriers, enhance support, and educate patients on the benefits of hospice services.
Copyright © 2010 American Cancer Society.