1 in 5 older chronic patients report experiencing discrimination in a health care setting

2.27.18

2.27.18

Nearly 20 percent of older chronic disease patients have experienced discrimination in a health care setting, according to a study published in the December 2017 issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

A study surveyed 14,000 people 54 years and older with at least one chronic condition. Researchers looked at trends in patient-reported discrimination in health care settings and services – and reasons why patients felt discriminated against. The analysis took many potential discrimination points into account, including race, ancestry, gender, age, religion, physical disability, sexual orientation, financial status and weight or physical appearance.

“Providers should be aware that a large fraction of patients will have experienced some form of discrimination in a health care setting,” said Amani Nuru-Jeter, associate professor of epidemiology and community health sciences at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and senior author of the study.

Nearly 20 percent of black patients reported feeling discriminated against, compared to 17 percent of white and Hispanic patients.

The analysis, conducted by researchers at three California universities, did show a drop in discrimination reported by African American patients for the period between 2008 and 2014.

Older adults tend to suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, lung disease and other chronic conditions. According to the National Council on Aging, nearly 80 percent of seniors suffer from at least one of chronic condition, and 95 percent of health care costs for older Americans can be attributed to chronic disease. Chronic disease can impact a senior’s ability to remain independent, and researchers are looking to see how to better empower seniors to manage and control their conditions.

With a high percentage of seniors battling a chronic disease, it’s imperative that they are receiving fair and equitable health care. The Chronic Disease Coalition believes we need to stop discrimination against patients, especially seniors – they deserve access to care like anyone else. Join us to fight back.