Racial Disparities In Nursing Homes


Download report – Separate and Unconscionable: A Report on Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Pennsylvania’s Nursing Homes with Recommendations for Immediate Action

Executive Summary and Summary Table of Recommendations

The COVID-19 crisis has not only devastated the world, it has starkly illuminated the disparate inequalities in our society. One of the most egregious examples is the disparate harm and vulnerabilities suffered by Black and Hispanic residents in nursing homes, before and during the COVID-19 crisis.

This report centers the unequal impact of the COVID-19 virus on Black and Hispanic nursing home residents, as well as the underlying quality of care crisis affecting the same populations. Though quality of care and COVID-19 impact all nursing home residents, systemic race-based inequity has created a crisis within a crisis for Black and Hispanic nursing home residents.  We found comparatively less data on quality-of-care issues impacting Asian American and Indigenous nursing home residents. Because of this, this paper primarily focuses on the inequity facing Black and Hispanic nursing home residents. However, one of the paper’s recommendations calls for significantly increased and sub-aggregated data on the experiences of Asian and Indigenous nursing home residents, in order to provide for more informed analysis and recommendations in the future.

While this is a national crisis, the report recommends a number of ways that Pennsylvania can take immediate and meaningful action to address race-based systemic inequities and the disparities that arise from them. These recommendations can be found on this table, in summarized form in the executive summary, or in the full report. We hope the report will create needed conversations to make long overdue changes.

CARIE and Community Legal Services of Philadelphia have been advocating for critical COVID-19 related policy change in Pennsylvania’s Long Term Care (LTC) facilities and have organized “PA Advocates for Improved COVID-19 Response in LTC Facilities” to coordinate efforts among leading advocacy groups in Pennsylvania. (Please read about our task force’s work at www.carie.org/covid-19.)  This report reflects research and discussion built from initial recommendations made in August 2020 to improve Pennsylvania’s response to COVID-19 in long term care facilities.   

Other Task Force Advocacy Addressing Racial Disparities in Long Term Care Facilities:

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