Nursing home residents, minorities under-treated for recurrent stroke

DALLAS, Oct. 10 Only half of elderly Americans in nursing homes are treated to prevent recurrent strokes, according to a review of nursing home admission records reported in today's rapid access issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study also showed racial minorities receive blood thinners for recurrent stroke less often than whites do. Blood thinners help prevent stroke-inducing blood clots.

Recurrent stroke is a major cause of disability and death among stroke survivors. Studies have shown that anticoagulants (blood thinners) like warfarin and antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel and aspirin help prevent future strokes. However, little is known about the extent to which such therapies are given to nursing home residents, many of whom are admitted to recuperate after surviving an initial stroke.

Past research suggests that blacks are less likely than whites to receive drug treatment for stroke, and that race often distinguishes who is healthy and who has access to and uses health services, said Jennifer Christian, Pharm.D., MPH, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research at Brown University in Providence, R.I. For these reasons, researchers investigated the extent to which racial minorities are less likely to receive necessary drug treatment for stroke while living in a U.S. nursing home.

They used the Systematic Assessment of Geriatric Drug Use Via Epidemiology (SAGE) database. SAGE is an integrated database that includes information from the federal government's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. By federal mandate, all Medicaid/Medicarecertified nursing homes complete comprehensive resident assessments when patients are admitted, collecting information on demographics, clinical diagnoses, physical and cognitive functioning, and medication use. The researchers evaluated data from five states Kansas, Maine, Ohio, New Yor

Contact: Carole Bullock
American Heart Association

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