Public Release: 

Study reveals racial differences in the use of rehabilitation services


In a Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study of 6309 community-dwelling Medicare enrollees (1276 of whom reported receiving rehabilitation services in the previous 12 months), the likelihood of receiving rehabilitation services was 1.4-times greater in whites than in blacks.

Of those receiving therapy, whites were more likely to receive home-based and inpatient rehabilitation services (rather than outpatient services), but there were no racial differences in improvement in function.

"In this sample, a higher proportion of blacks had the lowest functional ability while having lower use of rehabilitation services. Our findings suggest that further work is needed to examine possible barriers to accessing rehabilitation for older black Americans, as rehabilitation use may have the potential to improve Medicare-wide differences in functioning by race," said lead author Dr. Tamra Keeney, of the MGH Institute of Health Professions.


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