Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nursing home flu shots fall short, especially for blacks

Date:
October 5, 2011
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Black nursing home residents are less likely than their white counterparts to receive flu shots, even within the same nursing home, a new analysis finds. Overall, vaccinations have yet to reach the 90 percent level sought by Medicare and Medicaid. In most cases patients go unvaccinated because they refuse the shots, suggesting that for some patients, homes may have to improve how they communicate the benefits of the flu vaccine.

At the beginning of the 2011-12 flu season, a new study finds that the proportion of nursing home patients who get a shot remains lower than a national public health goal and that the rate is lower for blacks than for whites. The disparity persists even within individual nursing homes, said researchers at Brown University, who investigated the disparity and some of the reasons behind it.

"One reason you would potentially see a difference is that blacks and whites are by and large served by different nursing homes and there's lots of evidence to suggest that blacks are served in nursing homes that are not as good," said Vincent Mor, professor of health services policy and practice at Brown and senior author of the study published in the October issue of Health Affairs. "However, we also see a pretty persistent difference within the same homes, although it is not as large and it has lessened over time."

In the study, a team led by Brown community health investigator Shubing Cai looked at hundreds of thousands of patient records from more than 14,000 nursing homes each year between the 2006-07 and 2008-09 flu seasons.

The elderly are especially vulnerable to the flu, with people older than 65 accounting for the majority of flu-related deaths every year in the United States.

What the researchers found is that the overall vaccination rate in the latest year is 82.75 percent, which is short of the 90 percent goal set by Medicare and Medicaid. For whites the rate was 83.46 percent, while for blacks it was 77.75 percent. The rates for both races were slightly higher than in 2006-2007 when whites had a rate of 82.62 percent and blacks saw a rate of 75.42 percent.

When the team analyzed the relative risk of going unvaccinated, they found that while the disparity is dropping overall, it remains significant even within the same homes where service quality and staffing levels are presumably the same for blacks and whites. In 2008-09 blacks overall were about 23 percent less likely than whites to be vaccinated and about 15 percent less likely to be vaccinated as their white neighbors within the same home.

Offers refused and not received

Much, though not all, of the reason why blacks receive fewer vaccinations is because they turn them down more often, Cai said. According to the records, black patients refused vaccinations in 12.88 percent of cases in 2008-09, accounting for more than half of the situations where no vaccination occurred. Whites only turned down vaccines at a rate of 8.93 percent.

The higher rate of refusal among blacks declined over time, but didn't fully explain the disparity within a facility, Cai said.

"After we dropped patients who declined offers from the analysis, we still saw a difference within facilities," she said.

And blacks were also less likely to be offered vaccines.

Finding the single best way to resolve the disparity may well require interventions to determine what mix of factors are afoot in individual homes, Mor said. One question worth further study, he said, is whether the higher rate of vaccine refusal among black patients perhaps reflects how the vaccines are being offered.

"The way to address the within-facility disparity is to find out why there are these refusals and determine better ways of communicating the vaccine's benefits that specifically addresses patients' reluctance and refusal," he said.

In addition to Cai and Mor, the paper's other authors are Brown sociologist Mary Fennell and gerontologist Zhanlian Feng.

The National Institute on Aging helped fund the research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Nursing home flu shots fall short, especially for blacks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005170719.htm>.
Brown University. (2011, October 5). Nursing home flu shots fall short, especially for blacks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005170719.htm
Brown University. "Nursing home flu shots fall short, especially for blacks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111005170719.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins