Pressure ulcer rates high for blacks

July 20, 2011

Pressure ulcers are more prevalent in black high-risk nursing home residents than in white residents, according to a recent study, Medscape Today reports.

Iowa City, Iowa - Pressure ulcers are more prevalent in black high-risk nursing home residents than in white residents, according to a recent study, Medscape Today reports.

A research team led by Yue Li, Ph.D., of the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, conducted a longitudinal study of pressure ulcer prevalence in high-risk, long-term nursing home residents. The study included 12,473 certified U.S. nursing homes housing a total of 2.1 million white residents and 346,808 black residents.

Investigators found that though there was an overall decrease in pressure ulcer rates between 2003 and 2008, black residents had a higher prevalence than white residents. In 2003, black residents had a rate of 16.8 percent, compared with an 11.4 percent rate among white residents. By 2008, the rates had decreased to 14.6 percent among blacks and 9.6 percent among whites.

Overall, all residents in facilities with higher percentages of black residents (at least 35 percent) had at least a 30 percent increase in risk-adjusted odds of developing pressure ulcers.

“Our study found that despite the reduced pressure ulcer rates among long-term nursing home residents across all race and nursing home groups from 2003 through 2008, racial disparities persisted,” the authors concluded.

The study was published in the July 13 issue of JAMA. An accompanying editorial called for more research to identify the causes of discrepancies in ulcer rates between black and white residents.

“Establishing the causative factors in pressure ulcer rates will be important to help to ensure that all nursing facility residents receive appropriate care,” the editorial’s authors wrote.